Warner Bros. Discovery has postponed the launch of the SVOD service HBO Max in India due to the media conglomerate’s change in plans for the streaming business. The company already operates the Discovery+ streaming platform in India.
Saugata Mukherjee, who was appointed chief content officer for HBO Max India, has stepped down. The HBO Max India team is expected to be absorbed into the Warner Bros Discovery system.
“HBO Max India launch plan has been put on hold. The platform’s Indian content manager (Saugata Mukherjee) has resigned. Other HBO Max India members are expected to be absorbed into the Warner Bros Discovery India system” , said a source on condition of anonymity.
Another source said the company will start streaming HBO Max content on the Discovery+ platform. It’s pertinent to note that HBO has ongoing content deals with Disney Star and Amazon Prime Video in India.
Last month, Warner Bros. Discovery signed a deal with Amazon Prime Video for the premiere of HBO Max Originals in India. The deal includes 11 HBO Max Original series and 10 HBO Max Original features.
Its partnership with Disney Star dates back to 2015 when it signed a programming deal with the media network to exclusively air HBO content on both TV and digital. HBO is available as a separate content block in the Disney+ Hotstar app.
In an official statement, the company said that “the intention is to launch a combined streaming service, including in major Asia-Pacific territories in 2024.” He further stated that the existing licensing agreement with Disney+ Hotstar includes select HBO Originals and other content from Warner Bros. Discovery.
“Saugata Mukherjee has decided to leave the company. He is an incredibly talented leader, and we wish him the best in his future endeavours. Arjun Nohwar has been named Warner Bros. Discovery’s Managing Director for South Asia. Jason Monteiro leads streaming for the APAC region, in addition to leading integrated marketing for the India, Southeast Asia and Korea markets,” the company said.
As is known, the company had recently announced plans to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ globally in the summer of 2023. CEO and President of Warner Bros. Discovery, Global Streaming and Games, Jean-Briac Perrette, had told the analysts that the unified service would launch in the United States. in 2023 followed by Latin America later in the year.
The service is expected to roll out to European markets and major Asia-Pacific territories in early 2024. While the company hasn’t named the key APAC markets, it’s widely believed the media conglomerate is considering l India as a strategic market in the region.
It is pertinent to note that Discovery and AT&T had completed the WarnerMedia transaction in April. The combination of Discovery and WarnerMedia led to the creation of Warner Bros. Discovery.
In June 2021, WarnerMedia hired Amit Malhotra as Managing Director of HBO Max Southeast Asia and India to lead the introduction of HBO Max in Southeast Asia as well as a potential future launch in India.
Malhotra left HBO Max in December after spending just seven months on the streaming service. Arjun Nowhar, who is currently Country General Manager – India South Asia for Warner Bros Discovery, was later appointed Counter GM for HBO Max India.
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