October 5, 2021
HBO Max, WarnerMedia's flagship direct-to-consumer streaming service, has detailed its expansion plans for Europe, announcing Tuesday that it will reach 27 territories in the region for the initial phase of its European rollout.
HBO Max's opening foray into Europe will cover Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra the week of October 26, followed by launches in Central and Eastern Europe and Portugal in 2022. HBO Max also identified seven additional launch countries for 2022: the Netherlands, Turkey, Greece, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Figure 1: WarnerMedia has forecast HBO Max to have between 70 million to 73 million subs worldwide by the end of 2021.
(Image source: HBO Max)
HBO Max will try to prime the pump and keep churn in check in Europe with a discounted yearly subscription offer that effectively offers 12 months of the service for the price of eight. That package option, for example, will bring the monthly cost down 30%, to about €5.99 (US$6.95), in Spain and Finland. The standalone version of HBO Max regularly sells for $9.99 per month in the US.
With respect to content, HBO Max will debut Warner Bros. movies 45 days after their theatrical release this year in the Nordics, and next year in Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Greece, Iceland and Central and Eastern Europe.
Notably, HBO Max will replace existing HBO-branded streaming services in 20 territories in the Nordics, Spain, Portugal and Central and Eastern Europe, and will be offered as a standalone streaming service or via WarnerMedia's various pay-TV distribution partners in Europe.
The European rollout for HBO Max is taking shape some 14 months after HBO Max's US debut last May, and more recent launches in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean. The deployment in the region will attempt to boost the subscriber base of HBO Max, which ended Q2 with a domestic total of 43.52 million subs (31.45 million wholesale subs via pay-TV partners, and 12.07 million retail, direct-to-consumer subs). WarnerMedia, which is in the process of merging with Discovery, has forecast HBO Max to reach 70 million to 73 million subs worldwide by the end of 2021.
Everyone is going global
The size and scope of HBO Max's European rollout also underscore the fact that the streaming market, and the ability to deliver services at scale, have clearly become a global game as top players scramble to equal the reach of top OTT services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+.
Among other recent moves, NBCUniversal's Peacock kicked off its international expansion with plans to launch to nearly 20 million Sky customers in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.
Additionally, Comcast and ViacomCBS recently introduced SkyShowtime, a new premium service featuring content from both sides that's expected to launch in more than 20 European markets sometime in 2022.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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