The rollout is expected to take at least three years to reach most of Europe, due to existing deals with Sky.
HBO Max will launch in Spain and Scandinavia from 26th October 2021. Most of central and eastern Europe, plus Portugal will get the service during 2022.
The new timeframes were confirmed by WarnerMedia’s Priya Dogra, speaking at an industry event in France.
A five year content and carriage deal with Sky was announced in October 2019. This means HBO Max will not be able to launch in countries including the UK, Ireland and Germany until that deal has expired. For the time being, HBO programmes will continue to be shown on channels including Sky Atlantic and Sky Comedy. And individual WarnerMedia channels will continue on Sky.
In addition to US films and series, HBO Max is planning to run European productions. Like Paramount Plus in the UK, HBO is inviting producers to pitch their ideas.
Warner Media merged with Discovery earlier this year to create “Warner Bros. Discovery” (WBD). It remains unclear how the merger will affect their current standalone streaming services. In addition to HBO Max, there’s Discovery+ and soon CNN+.
By the time all of WBD’s current UK carriage and content deals end in 2024, the launch of a standalone HBO product is expected to trigger major changes across pay TV platforms. The merged company now has enough content and brands to eclipse Sky.
- Updated 09/09/2021 following confirmation of the launch date in October 2021.