HBO Max To Stop Streaming In Europe?
HBO Max is beginning to shut down some services across areas of Europe, which makes us wonder what the game plan is.
The streaming content market is still so new that even huge companies like Warner Bros Discovery, Netflix, and Disney often seem to be kind of winging it in terms of strategy. It probably does not help that the competition between these enormous companies trying to carve out their own part of the new technology is incredibly fierce. That must be one of the reasons that HBO Max has announced they are partially shutting down operations in Europe, presumably one of the larger markets in the world for streaming content. Per The Hollywood Reporter, HBO Max issued a statement that announced they are ceasing producing original content for the Netherlands, Central Europe, the Nordics, and Turkey.
The statement from HBO Max went on to say they were “reviewing our current content proposition on the existing services,” which is to say they were deciding what they were going to keep making on their platform. The statement also said that HBO Max was removing “limited amount of original programming” entirely from streaming, though it did not actually specify what was beings deleted. It also went on to say they were discontinuing development in several areas of Europe but “remain committed” to covering them. For what it is worth, France and Spain will not be affected by these changes from HBO Max and it appears free streaming services owned by its parent company will also not be affected.
Speaking of which, HBO Max is currently owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. That particular megacorporation was formed by the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc, which has had wide-ranging effects on the former companies’ various components. A number of former WarnerMedia projects have been on the chopping block, including the acclaimed HBO Max science fiction series Raised by Wolves. New Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav (who was formerly of Discovery Inc) announced a highly aggressive $3 billion dollars in cuts from the company, the majority of which appear so far to have been projects initiated by his predecessors at WarnerMedia. He also has announced the elimination and consolidation of a number of executive positions at the company, again largely former WarnerMedia positions.
But for all of CEO David Zaslav’s eagerness to reduce every inch of fat from Warner Bros. Discovery (as long as it was once WarnerMedia, apparently), HBO Max has been doing quite well for itself. For many years, the unquestioned dominant force in streaming media has been Netflix, but there have been more than a few cracks in Big Red’s armor as of late. Netflix has steadily been losing ground to the combined force of HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video (and to a lesser extent, Paramount+, YouTube TV, and all the other niche services). More importantly, Netflix has begun to slow in subscriber growth (and has even been losing subscribers, to the outrage of investors who were under the impression that all businesses unceasingly grow forever). This is the perfect time for HBO Max to stake out a bigger market share, but it looks like Northern and Central Europe, plus Turkey, is not where they plan to do so.