Thursday, August 11

HBO Max has stopped its own production in almost all of Europe. Less in Spain (and for good reasons)

Warner Bros. Discovery (that is the name given to the company after the merger of the owner of HBO Max with the documentary production emporium) has decided that, in order to save costs, it is going to cut its spending strategy in Europe. Its purpose, according to Variety, is to save 3,000 million dollars while continuing the process of “combining HBO Max and discovery + into a single global streaming service,” says the company.

Why so much spending? There is a general desire on the part of Warner and Discovery to unify their production internationally, unifying the catalogues. But there is also a fear in the streaming landscape of the repercussions and contagion effect that the drop in Netflix subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 may have (and which promises to be accentuated shortly, with the announcement of the results of the second and recently completed trimester).

Warner is not in its best financial moment: in mid-June the company’s shares fell 8.1% when Warner and Discovery jointly went public and its debt load is around 55,000 million dollars . It is more than enough reason for Warner to have decided to cut costs.

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To carry out these cuts, Warner Discovery announced earlier this year, an “investment waiver” will be carried out. In that cut in search of a debt reduction, it could very well be included that closing the tap to European productions. Although not all will be equally affected.

The Nordic countries rest. The immediate intention is that there will be no more productions of Max Originals, the platform’s own production, in the Nordic countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland), as well as in Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey. According to the company, “Our commitment to these markets has not changed. We will continue to order local content in these regions and will continue to acquire it from third parties to distribute it on our streaming services.”

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In this way, the projects in development will be canceled, and those that were in production will be studied one by one, to make decisions about each one of them. It is known that some like the Swedish ‘Lust’, the Danish ‘Kamikaze’ or the Hungarian ‘El informante’ (which cannot yet be seen outside of their country of origin) will end their tour at this point.

Spain is saved. Spain and France, however, will have the opportunity to continue with their productions. In the case of Spain, there is a good reason for this: Spanish series not only have an impact in a specific European country, but in all of Latin America, a very important field for Warner Discovery, whose HBO Max platform arrived there even before Spain. It must be remembered that in June 2021, six months after its launch throughout Latin America, a third of the total customers of the service came from that area. Also noteworthy is the very important Spanish-speaking population of the United States.

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On the other hand, the French productions will remain because the laws of the Audiovisual Media Directive impose very strict quotas that Warner Discovery has to keep. In the case of Spain, this indicates that productions as juicy as the second season of ’30 Coins’, the promising ‘García!’ or the animation series of the Chanantes ‘Pobre diablo’ continue as planned.

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