HBO Max has just gone live in the US with a hugely impressive library of content, including blockbuster shows Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Wire and The Sopranos. But is HBO Max coming to the UK?
While WarnerMedia, which owns HBO, hasn’t yet revealed any specifics for its HBO Max plans beyond the US, where it costs $14.99 per month after a seven-day free trial, it has confirmed plans to eventually expand the service to Europe and elsewhere.
However, it’s highly unlikely that the UK will be amongst the first wave of European countries that get HBO Max.
Related: Here’s the HBO Max content list
“We’re prioritizing our international expansion in Latin America and Europe where we currently operate HBO networks and have existing over-the-top services,” John T. Stankey, the president & COO of AT&T and CEO of WarnerMedia, said at the HBO Max Investor Day in October 2019.
“Initially, we’ll complement these efforts by leaning on our licensing relationships with key partners in other territories where we believe market conditions warrant a different approach.”
The UK falls into the second of these two groups, because Sky has exclusive rights to HBO content in the UK. The companies renewed their partnership in October 2019, and the deal is believed to run until 2024.
Stankey referenced this deal at last year’s HBO Max Investor Day, saying: “We recently secured a broad and long-term licensing and co-production deal with Sky in the UK, Germany and Italy that provides stability and predictability so we can produce the best content for our services around the world.”
He added: “In Central Europe, the Nordics, Spain and Portugal, we already have more than 9 million HBO subscribers across linear networks and OTT services. Our approach will be to drive incremental growth through expanded offerings while, again, complementing our efforts with our strong licensing relationships in territories where we don’t currently operate a premium service.”
Latin America is to be the main priority after HBO Max’s US launch, however. The plan is for “a localized version of HBO Max with expanded programming, including a substantial amount of local content” to go live in Latin American countries in 2021.
WarnerMedia wants to hit 50 million subscribers in the US by 2025, and 75 million to 90 million “premium subscribers” across the US, Latin America and Europe by the end of 2025.
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Netflix, by comparison, had 182.856 million paid subscribers by the end of March 2020, and Disney Plus hit the 50 million mark in April.