DTVE Interview: Leah Hooper Rosa, Warner Bros. Discovery, EVP of EMEA Streaming

Warner’s Bros. Discovery (WBD) are one step closer to reaching its mission of its direct-to-consumer streaming service, Max, becoming one of the top three global streaming service on the market, following the successful European roll-out this month.

Leah Hooper Rosa (Source: Warner Bros. Discovery)

The company’s new flagship streaming service, which replaced its former HBO Max, has landed in select territories across Europe. It comes one year later after it launched in the US and following the roll-out across Latin America and the Caribbean in February 2024.

In Europe, Max is currently 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.

With further launches of the streamer scheduled to take place in France, Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium on June 11.


The streamer has launched across Europe in partnership with telcos and pay TV providers in select regions. In Spain, WBD has partnerships in place with Telefónica/Movistar, MásOrange and Vodafone to offer the streamer. Whereas, in Sweden in partnership with Nordic telco Telia, Max is available as part of a bundle with TV4 Play, Viaplay and Telia Play. The company has also struck a deal with French pay TV giant Canal+ to distribute the streamer.

A day after the initial launch, Leah Hooper Rosa, WBD’s EVP of EMEA Streaming, tells DTVE, the company’s main priority for Max, is becoming a global streaming leader in terms of its subscriber base, audience share and profitability.

Although it is early days, she says –  “Europe has the potential to be our biggest market when we think across our global footprint. We’ve already got, existing businesses here in Europe and we’ve got more streaming subscribers for WBD than we have in Latin America or APAC.”

HBO Max first launched in Europe in 2021, with sister streaming brand discovery+ operating across the continent, alongside WBD’s linear businesses such as Eurosport.

Currently, Max’s ad-supported subscription plan will only be available in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Romania, Poland, France and Belgium, with plans to later expand the ad-tier across more territories.

Going into Europe, she said the company took the more simpler approach of splitting the European Max launch in two groups to best tackle the “operational complexities and synergies”. She highlights there are unique requirements with its streaming strategy in markets such as the Netherlands and Poland, with WBD also entering into new markets such as France and Belgium with Max.

“We decided to do it in really two time frames because it’s it’s a huge operational effort to wind up the launch engine, it involves quite a lot of people,” she says.

Hooper Rosa explains, “the reason why we’ve got some ad and some non-ad markets, is that 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.”

Despite Max not being available in the UK, the WBD exec says the company’s goal is to operate Max across all major markets, including the UK. She expects to see more conversations in the future about launching Max in the country, with Europe and UK “ready for more sophisticated bundling”.

WBD previously announced it plans to launch service Max in the country by 2026, it currently has a long-running licensing partnership with UK pay TV operator Sky, for its HBO content which runs until the end of 2025.

She makes notes to the company’s most recently announced partnership with Disney to offer a bundle including Disney+, Hulu and Max in the US, with something similar yet to exist in Europe.

“I’d say we’re open to business and exploring”, she adds. “We haven’t seen too many types of those relationships yet in Europe with other streamers doing streaming bundling. But I think that’s an opportunity in the future and we’ll see how consumers react to that.”

She goes on to say, “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 on working out what that would look like.”


Max also offers a sports add-on, providing coverage of major international and European sports including Australian Open, Roland-Garros, The Championships, Wimbledon, US Open, Giro d’Italia, La Vuelta a España, Tour de France, , every major winter sports World Championship and World Cup events, as well as this year’s upcoming Summer Olympics.

As part of the move, Hooper Rosa says WBD 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.  Eurosport channels will continue to operate as normal and discovery+ to remain the streaming destination for sports in WBD’s markets where Max is not available.

“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,” she explains. “We are going all in on the the streaming home of the Olympics in Max markets is going to be Max.”

Among Max’s capabilities, Hooper Rosa claims they will “have the lightest ad load of any other streaming service”. By what she describes as “contextualising the ad load”, the service will deliver pre-roll advertising to minimise interruptions during high-engagement content.

She stresses, “nobody wants to sit down and watch episode one of the House of the Dragon season 2 premiere, which is going to be amazing, the most compelling, and it to be filled with ads.”

WBD has also implemented a new tool on Max called whole page optimisation, to better learn user behaviour, drive engagement and create a more personalised product.

“We learn really quickly how somebody scrolls through the home page and how they find content. Then we can personalise the layout, how they appear for them based on where users click, on their behaviour and etc. These are really cool things that not many players are doing,” says the exec. “It’s really important that we just continue to keep that eye on improving the product experience.”

Though it may be too early to say with the company just kicking off the Max European rollout with more launches to follow, however for Hooper Rosa at least, WBD has a “winning hand” in the streaming game with Max.

“We have a really solid growth trajectory year on year, we’re targeting not only revenue growth but also profitability growth as a company as we go into 2025,” she says.

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