WBD’s JB Perrette outlines Max’s global roll-out strategy

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Warner Bros Discovery (WBD)’s streaming chief JB Perrette has outlined how the company is approaching the global roll-out of Max, admitting that partnerships will beat a rigid direct-to-consumer approach in some markets.

WBD’s rebranded version of HBO Max was launched in the US this summer and is now set to roll out in Latin America in 2024, later than initially planned, followed by Europe and Asia.

But speaking at the APOS Conference in Bali, WBD’s CEO of global streaming & games said that the streaming industry faced a turbulent time and that the company would assess how Max’s content could reach viewers.

JB Perrette

Perrette said that if the streamer could reach profitability in a country in between three to five years, then it would likely be launched.

If average revenue per user (ARPU) is “too low or if it is way over-served by a ton of other players who are spending on a ton of content and losing a ton of money, we may say this is not the right time,” the WBD chief said, according to Variety.

Partnerships & output

WBD has struck an array of content deals over the past 12 months, including an output pact with Foxtel in Australia that put “optionality at its core”.

In India, WBD struck a deal with Viacom18 in April that provides its JioCinema with HBO, Max and Warner Bros. content, while in March, the US studio extended its SVOD pact with Japanese streamer U-Next as part of its third-party licensing strategy.

Similar output arrangements for HBO shows, particularly in Europe where Sky has held exclusive rights for more than a decade, are being closely scrutinised as WBD explores when and where to launch Max.

WBD’s UK chief, Andrew Georgiou, last week said that the “eventual” launch of Max in the UK had been part of the rationale behind the creation of TNT Sports in the country.

Perrette added that if Max could secure profitability, market share and scale, then it would look to expand but if not, partnerships and “other ways to go to market” would be explored.

The WBD added that the market had experienced “a decade of great oversupply and great under-pricing”, with “rationalisation” and aggregation now the key focus for major industry players.

He said within five to ten years the market would support between three and five players, in addition to local streamers.

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