“No plans” to launch HBO Max in UK yet
James R | On 12, Sep 2021
Warner currently has no plans to launch HBO Max in the UK, as the media giant begins to expand its streaming service internationally.
The subscription platform is one of the latest to enter the increasingly competitive streaming market and takes a similar approach to Disney+, by bringing together all of WarnerMedia’s catalogue into one place. That means everything from New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV and The CW to Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and, of course, HBO.
More specifically, that means a library that includes Westworld, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Game of Thrones, Veep, The Wire, Silicon Valley and other HBO documentaries and films, plus South Park, Rick & Morty (shared with Hulu), The Big Bang Theory, South Park, the new seasons of Doctor Who, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Batwoman, Doom Patrol, The OC, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, and the jewel in the crown of the Warner archive, Friends.
The service launched in May 2020 and has since become a key part of Warner’s strategy during the coronavirus pandemic, with all of its films in 2021 going to both cinemas and HBO Max in the USA. In the UK, meanwhile, Warner has been releasing its films as Premium VOD rentals after a shorter theatrical window agreed with cinemas.
That’s partly because HBO already has a number of deals in place in the UK, including Sky as its exclusive partner, which was renewed in 2019 for reportedly a five-year term. With the landscape in the UK markedly different to that in the USA, HBO has not yet confirmed when, or if, it will attempt a UK launch in the future.
Now, though, it has revealed that it will be coming to Europe from 26th Europe, launching in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra. Another 14 European countries will follow in 2022 – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.
In Germany and the UK, however, there “aren’t currently plans to launch”, reports Variety.
The comments come as two other major new US streaming platforms have confirmed details of their UK plans, both of whom have similarly complex relationships with Sky. Paramount+ will launch with its own app in 2022, but will notably also be partnering Sky to arrive on British screens, with Showtime series such as Billions already licensed exclusively to the pay-TV giant. (Other Paramount+ originals, including Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard and The Good Fight, are already licensed out to different UK broadcasters and streamers.) Read more about that here. NBC’s Peacock, meanwhile, will launch as part of Sky, which is also owned by parent company Comcast. A Peacock-branded library, with adverts, will join Sky’s platform at no extra charge to customers later this year. For more on that Add to Watchlist