Europe is “ready for more sophisticated bundling” after Max launch, says WBD exec

Following the wider-expansion of Warner Bros. Discovery’s (WBD) standalone streaming service Max across Europe, the company’s EMEA streaming exec has said Europe and the UK “are ready for more sophisticated bundling”.

Leah Hooper-Rosa (Source: Warner Bros. Discovery)

Following the first phase of the recent WBD’s European roll out of Max, Leah Hooper Rosa, EVP of EMEA Streaming, told DTVE, the company’s goal is to operate Max across all major markets, including the UK.

She said she expects to see more conversations in the future about launching Max in the UK. WBD previously announced it plans to launch service Max in the country by 2026. The media and entertainment powerhouse currently has a long-running licensing partnership with UK pay TV operator Sky, for its HBO content which runs until the end of 2025.

Hooper Rosa, said, “We’re in the game now of we want to be a top three global streaming service. That’s our ambition.”

“We’re on a multi-year journey in terms of our Max roll out across Europe. We’re actively in conversations. Our CEO and Gerhard Zeiler (president of WBD International)  have also shared with partners and working out what that would look like,” she added.

Referring to the company’s recently announced partnership with Disney to offer a bundle including Disney+, Hulu and Max in the US, Hooper Rosa said – “it’s natural that we see those types of things move into Europe”.

The streamer has launched across Europe in partnership with telcos and pay TV providers in select regions.

“We haven’t seen too many types of those relationships yet in Europe with other streamers doing streaming bundling. But I think there is an opportunity for that in the future and we’ll see how consumers react to that,” she added.

Max debuted in Iberia, the Nordic markets and parts of central and eastern Europe earlier this month, as part of a staggered roll-out for simplicity, said the WBD exec. Further launches are planned for France, Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium in June.

Currently the streamer is available in 20 countries, including Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Andorra, Bosnia & Herzegovnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

At present, WBD will only introduce its Max’s ad-supported subscription plan in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Romania, Poland, France and Belgium.

For their strategy in Europe she explained, “it’s really a combination of the maturity of the ad market in those regions and the of maturity of our business because we need to be able to sell ads or to be able to have the capability to work with a partner.”

Max also offers a sports add-on, providing coverage of major international and European sports including Australian Open, The French Open, The Championships, Wimbledon, US Open, Giro d’Italia, La Vuelta a España, Tour de France, and every major winter sports World Championship and World Cup events.

As part of the move, Hooper Rosa said it will be scaling back its content across its other streaming services including discovery+ in Max markets, which was the streaming home for WBD’s sports content across Europe.

“Max is our flagship streaming service,” she said. “So what we’re doing now is a wind down across Europe of our other streaming services. It’s really on a market by market basis of how we’re managing that transition.”

We have really world class highlights capability where as soon as you know an event is finished highlights a pub, are packaged up and published on the service. So very exciting and you know we’ve put a lot of effort into the product design and the feature capabilities in terms of metal alerts and other things that we’re going to have on the platform.

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