WarnerMedia has announced that Amit Malhotra will join the company later this month as managing director for HBO Max in Southeast Asia and India. He reports to Johannes Larcher, head of Max International, and will be responsible for the rollout and management of the direct-to-consumer platform in Southeast Asia.
Malhotra will immediately assume responsibility for the management of HBO Go, WarnerMedia’s existing OTT streaming service available in eight territories across Southeast Asia. In the future, he will spearhead WarnerMedia’s exploration of future opportunities to launch the streaming platform in additional markets, as well as a potential future launch in India.
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Max, which launched in spring 2020, aims to roll out in 61 countries, beginning June 29 in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Malhotra most recently served as regional lead for Disney+ in Southeast Asia, where he was responsible for overseeing the launch and operations of the streaming service, including Disney+ Hotstar and Hotstar. He also led the content sales and distribution division as part of The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to Consumer & International (DTCI) business in South APAC and Middle East, pivoting Disney’s linear business in the region to streaming by working closely with local telcos and MVPDs, creating localized payment strategies and developing deep content studio relationships throughout Southeast Asia.
India currently represents one-third of Disney’s 103 million SVOD subscribers.
“Amit’s experience launching streaming services in both mature and emerging markets across Southeast Asia and the surrounding region make him the ideal leader to plan and oversee the rollout of HBO Max and its expanded content offering and platform experience,” Larcher said in a statement.
Under Malhotra’s leadership, WarnerMedia also expects to launch Max in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam in the future, including an expanded content offering that would be hosted on Max’s tech stack, providing a more stable and consistent streaming experience than HBO Go.
The Max team in Southeast Asia will build on the partnership with Clement Schwebig, managing director of India, Southeast Asia and Korea for WarnerMedia, and members of his team, including Magdalene Ew (head of content) and Yasmin Zahid (head of distribution), as well as Leslie Lee (head of kids, APAC), in a collaboration that’s pivotal to the success of HBO Go and Max in the region.
David Simonsen, who has played an important role in the growth of HBO Go in Southeast Asia to date, will continue to work closely with Amit as part of his executive leadership team.
Max has seen significant success since launching in May of last year, adding 11.1 million combined HBO/HBO Max subscribers in the U.S. as of the end of Q1 2021. HBO’s existing OTT services in Europe are scheduled to be upgraded to Max later this year.