UPDATED 1:11PM ET WITH MORE NEWS ON HBO MAX ROLL-OUT IN EUROPE
The push towards maximizing cost savings following the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. continues, with the latest move involving HBO Max original production ceasing in select international territories, along with the removal of certain content from its platforms, with an aim towards securing licensing deals.
In a statement supplied to Realscreen, a Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) spokesperson said: “As we continue to work on combining HBO Max and Discovery+ into one global streaming service showcasing the breadth of content across Warner Bros. Discovery, we are reviewing our current content proposition on the existing services.
“As part of this process, we have decided to remove a limited amount of original programming from HBO Max, as well as ceasing our original programming efforts for HBO Max in the Nordics and Central Europe. We have also ceased our nascent development activities in the newer territories of Netherlands and Turkey, which had commenced over the past year.”
The spokesperson confirmed that the changes apply to both scripted and unscripted production in the affected regions. However, some content currently in production might still makes its way to the streaming service, while other in-progress shows might be sold.
“As part of a global review, we are currently reviewing shows that are in production or post-production in the Nordics, Central Europe and the Netherlands to determine whether they will be made available on HBO Max, or a different licensing arrangement may be made,” the spokesperson added. “More details will follow on this in due course.”
Among unscripted productions underway in these territories for the streamer are local versions of the hit FBoy Island in Denmark, Sweden, Spain and the Netherlands.
Original production in Spain and France remains unaffected by this restructuring, as does content for the Discovery free-to-air networks in the region.
“We will continue to commission local content for Warner Bros. Discovery’s linear networks in these regions, and we remain substantial acquirers of local third-party content for use on our streaming services,” the spokesperson said.
In addition, it has been confirmed that there will be no further international launches for the streamer. Its launches in 15 European territories last March will be the last, with planned launches in Turkey, Greece, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania now canceled. While HBO Max had been slated to launch in France in 2023, the WBD spokesperson confirmed to Realscreen that plans are afoot to launch the as-yet-unnamed service that will combine content from Discovery+ and HBO Max in the territory.
“Warner Bros. Discovery has publicly stated its commitment to a singular streaming service that combines HBO Max and Discovery+ and harnesses the unmatched combined content of the organization,” the spokesperson said. “We continue to develop our plans to roll out a high-quality global service both in territories where we have a presence in streaming, as well as in new markets. France remains a strategically important market, and we will confirm the timing of a launch in due course.”