We’re solidly in the middle of a streaming boom right now. As a plethora of new channels seek to gain their foothold in the market, we’ll inevitably see them look to foreign markets for more saturation and profit. HBO max is set to roll out an ambitious foreign market plan in 2021, one of the earliest steamers to turn to this under-appreciated market, with an exciting new team lined up for the entirety of the European, Middle Eastern, and North African geographic areas. As always, BLAKE & WANG P.A one of the top entertainment law firms Los Angeles has all the insider info you need on this exciting development.

Rolling into Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa

WarnerMedia has moved Christina Sulebakk, previously General Manager HBO Europe, to the overall Europe/Middle East and Africa leadership. This places responsibility for upgraded HBO offerings across their existing markets squarely in her lap, with the end goal being to bring the various regional HBO offerings under the HBO Max banner. She reports to Johannes Larcher, the head of HBO Max international.

She will be able to call on the expertise of Line Mykland on the new content experience team. They will have the anchor role of development and implementation for the new editorial vision. It appears the intention is to focus more on creating specific content for local viewers, starting with areas HBO already has foreign-language presence. They are joined by Brett Horowitz in Data, Insights & Planning, Roberto Soto in Growth Marketing (for subscriptions), and Tobias Andersson as EMEA regional lead for legals, with Mark Spivey doing the same for talent.

An HBO Max dream team?

It’s certainly an experienced team, and they have equally experienced people working under them. HBO Max seems to have a lot of faith in their executive picks, both for the existing service upgrade and to roll out across more territories under the EMEA banner they’ve created. Not that they will be working entirely alone. We can assume the WarnerMedia International team will also be keeping a firm eye on this key area of logistics.

The need for international content

As we looked at a while, foreign-language features have come to be a firm selling point for established streaming services like Netflix. In an English-speaking market that’s fast becoming saturated, it offers a key opportunity to lure in new viewers keen to see content produced in their home tongues. It’s exactly this sort of diversification- and investment in solid, quality content- that could prove to be the make-or-break attraction point for streaming services struggling to differentiate themselves from the crowd.

HBO Max certainly has the global pull, and the experience in their executive leadership, to make a success of this ambitious expansion (and merging) of their existing foreign-aimed streaming market. Will they be the next channel to watch as the foreign streaming wars heat up? They’re certainly focusing early on their overseas market, and that could well earn them the edge they need to stay ahead of the streaming pack. BLAKE & WANG P.A will be watching closely.

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