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Warner Bros Discovery’s Gerhard Zeiler unveils European launch plans for Max

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Source: Warner Bros. Discovery

Gerhard Zeiler

Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) is to roll out its Max platform in 22 countries in Europe from spring 2024, followed by launches in France and Belgium later in the year.

However, there was no news about plans for the UK market where HBO has a licencing deal with Sky.

The launches were announced during a Mipcom keynote today by Warner Bros Discovery’s (WBD) international head Gerhard Zeiler, alongside SVP head of streaming EMEA Leah Hooper Rosa.

Max will initially launch in the 22 countries across the Nordic region, Iberia, the Netherlands, and Central and Eastern Europe that currently offer HBO Max.

The enhanced service will then launch in France and Belgium in 2024. HBO Max is currently not available in France and Belgium where WBD has a deal with Amazon Prime Video. WBD began transforming HBO Max to Max in the US in May of this year, combining HBO’s scripted offerings with Discovery’s unscripted favorites.

In Europe Max will stream live sports through Eurosport. Max will stream live and on-demand coverage of the Olympic Games Paris in 2024. Max will also offer live simulcasts of WBD local entertainment networks in some countries.

During his keynote, Zeiler also underlined the importance of theatrical to WBD, as well as streaming and linear.

“We are not a one trick pony. We don’t think that putting all the content in one window is a good business model, and it’s also good for consumers. We are 100 percent committed to theatrical releases. Nothing is more important and more impactful than an explosive release. We believe in all the transactional distribution methods, and we are 100% committed to streaming. This is our future growth engine. But we also believe in linear.”

Zeiler also stressed that WBD is “not religious about having everything” for its own networks. “Our goal is maximising reach and also monetisation. If we see that in certain markets and certain programmes, it makes sense to send it to third parties, we are doing that.”

Zeiler addressed the success of Warner Bros’

Barbie, which has taken $1.4 billion at the global box office and is the biggest Warner Bros film of all time. “It proves that a great film can only be made if there is a good marketing campaign. Then you can get to these numbers.” Then you can get to these numbers.”Zeiler’s keynote came just weeks after he announced his new international leadership team following a series of departures.

Referencing the restructures, he said WBD set goals 18 months ago when it started to bring together Warner Bros and Discovery into one company: “Number one, we wanted to define what is the mission and what is our vision? The second goal was to implement this integration as quickly as possible and, I won’t lie, as efficiently as possible. And the third goal was to create a new culture of these two distinctive companies.”

In terms of the WBD mission, Zeiler said: “We are a content company. We don’t sell connectivity or anything else. We are storytellers. It’s our vision. That is our vision.”

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