The HBO Max streaming service will launch in parts of Europe later this year but, due to content deals already in place with Sky, it won’t be possible to launch the service in the UK until 2025.
The deal with Sky, which includes HBO content and Warner Bros movies, will also prevent the WarnerMedia service from launching in Germany in Italy.
John Stankey, WarnerMedia’s previous chief executive, struck the deal in 2019, extending a longstanding relationship with Sky and providing a flow of income to a heavily indebted AT&T. However it has since hampered the company’s ability to expand its big bet on streaming, HBO Max, to key markets outside the US.
Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia’s current chief executive, told the Financial Times he is “spending a lot of time thinking about what happens” after the Sky deal runs its course. “There is tremendous opportunity for us to have HBO Max in the UK, Germany and other markets. Of course I’m thinking quite heavily about that,” he said.
HBO Europe in recent years has become a competitor to the likes of Amazon and Netflix in the region, pushing its own D2C streaming service in the Nordics, Spain, Portugal and other countries. This will be rebranded as HBO Max in the second half of this year. A similar launch is set for HBO Max in Latin America in June, where it will enter 39 new territories.
“As a leader, I need to make sure we set a record for how fast we go global,” added Kilar. “We’re 10 months into it, and about to go from 1 to 61 countries, and we won’t stop there”.