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Photo: AP
Photo: AP

Warner head hints at HBO Max launch for India

  • ''Warner already has a foothold in countries like China and Japan, in 10 years, the company wants 70% of its revenue coming from international markets as opposed to 30% currently''

NEW DELHI : WarnerMedia Entertainment may have given India a miss when it launched HBO Max, a video streaming service, in the United States this May but the company may soon bring the platform to the country soon.

“If you want to be a strong global player, you have to be strong in Asia-Pacific. In India, we don’t have the scale that we want and where we have to be. In order to get there, the workhorse will be HBO Max," Gerhard Zeiler, head of international, WarnerMedia said in a fireside chat at the APOS Summit 2020, an event curated by Media Partners Asia, an independent provider of research, advisory and consulting services across media, telecom and technology industries in Asia Pacific. Zeiler did not elaborate on details of the launch.

While Warner already has a foothold in countries like China and Japan, in 10 years, the company wants 70% of its revenue coming from international markets as opposed to 30% currently, he said.

“In Asia, we are continuing to focus on our regional streaming service HBO GO and our bouquet of pay TV linear services including HBO, for the time being," Warner had said in a response to Mint’s queries during the HBO Max launch in May. WarnerMedia operates channels like HBO, CNN and Cartoon Network in India. Although HBO GO, is not available in India, it is present in countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia etc.

Localized versions of HBO Max are scheduled to launch in 2021 in Latin America and the parts of Europe where HBO already directly operates premium TV or streaming services.

Like rivals Netflix, Disney+ and Peacock, HBO Max has an exhaustive catalogue of hit shows and movies, plus a big-budget slate of exclusive originals packed with stars. Priced at $14.99 a month, it is one of the costlier streaming services in the US compared to Disney+ which is at $6.99 per month, while Netflix's standard tier is $12.99.

The subscription-based service includes all the shows and movies on HBO, plus a selection of high-profile licensed content, including classic American sitcoms like Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Rick & Morty and South Park. Its original programming includes Love Life, a romantic comedy starring Anna Kendrick, On the Record, a controversial Me Too documentary film, Expecting Amy, a three-part docuseries about comedian Amy Schumer's life on tour during her pregnancy and so on.

In India, if and when it launches, HBO Max will have to compete in a cluttered OTT market along with not just American rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video but also homegrown services such as ZEE5, ALTBalaji and so on.

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