HBO Max No. 3 SVOD in Spain Since Launching in October

Just a month after launch, HBO Max is reportedly the No. 3 streaming service in Spain, according to published data from Smartme Analytics.

WarnerMedia in late October launched HBO Max in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra as part of a broader European rollout in 2022.

One month later, Max already has nearly 5% market penetration. The successor to HBO España, Max passed Disney+, which has 4.3% market penetration. Disney+ launched in Europe in March 2020. 

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Assisting Max’s rollout will be a 50% price cut on the standard €8.99 ($10.40) monthly fee through Nov. 30 for the lifetime of the subscription, unless canceled.

Spain’s SVOD market leader continues to be Netflix with 20.7% market share, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 8.7% share.

AT&T CFO: HBO Max Becoming ‘Top Two’ SVOD Competitor in Europe

HBO Max only began rolling out its subscription streaming video platform in Europe in September, with additional markets in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra launched last month. The venerable brand is apparently resonating with European consumers.

Speaking Nov. 18 at the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in Dallas, AT&T CFO Pascal Desroches said Max has generated so much interest that it now rates highly in a SVOD market that includes Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, among others. Desroches said that trends are in line with AT&T’s expectations.

AT&T CFO Pascal Desroches

“In fact, while it is still early, the initial data suggests that in most international markets Max is rising to become a top two direct-to-consumer provider in terms of subscribers and revenue,” Desroches said.

Given this, the executive said he feels good about Max’s global positioning and remains confident in its longer-term global expansion. AT&T now expects HBO and HBO Max to track between 120 million and 150 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2025.

Strong numbers as AT&T attempts to finalize a minority ownership/majority control asset sale to WarnerMedia to Discovery Inc. Desroches said he continues to expect the transaction to close by mid-2022.

Peacock Begins Euro Expansion Through Sky

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming video platform Nov. 16 began its European rollout in the United Kingdom and Ireland through the distribution of original and catalog content via Sky, the Comcast-owned satellite pay-TV operator.

Peacock, which reported 54 million sign-ups and 20 million subscribers in September, will continue to roll out content across Sky platforms in Germany, Italy, Austria and Switzerland in the coming months, making it available to almost 20 million Sky subs.

Beginning today (Nov. 16), Sky TV customers and Now Entertainment members get early access to Peacock, featuring TV shows and movies from across NBCUniversal, that will be ramping up over the coming months.

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“Following its successful phased launch in the U.S., we are excited to mark the international debut of Peacock content in the U.K. and Ireland on Sky,” Lee Raftery, managing director for Europe, Middle East & Africa at NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

Peacock Originals include current series “Saved by the Bell,” “Rutherford Falls,” “Punky Brewster,” “The Girl in the Woods,” “Five Bedrooms” and “Vanderpump Rules,” in addition to upcoming series “MacGruber,” “Bel-Air,” “Joe Exotic” (working title), “Killing It,” “Vampire Academy,” “Irreverent,” “The Innocent,” “The Resort,” “The Missing,” “The Best Man,” “Angelyne,” “Ted” and “Battlestar Galactica.”

Current and classic TV Shows include “The Office,” “Parks and Recreation,” “30 Rock,” “Psych,” “Superstore,” “A.P. Bio,” “The Mindy Project,” “Will & Grace,” “Mr. Mayor,” “Young Rock” and “Saturday Night Live,” popular dramas such as “Battlestar Galactica,” “Monk,” “Bates Motel,” “Heroes,” “Friday Night Lights,” “12 Monkeys,” “Downton Abbey,” “House,” “Suits,” “Quantum Leap,” “Warehouse 13,” “The Equalizer” and “Grimm,” unscripted hits like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” and bingeable franchises including “Million Dollar Listing,” “Southern Charm,” “Below Deck,” “The Real Housewives” and “Top Chef.”

Movies include: The Best Man, Bird on a Wire, Bowfinger, Brüno, Bulletproof, Children of Men, Definitely, Maybe, Far and Away, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The Game, Hanna, Hannibal, The Last House on the Left, MacGruber, A Million Ways to Die in the West, Meet Joe Black, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Out of SightPride & Prejudice, Scent of a Woman, Seed of Chucky, A Simple Wish, The Skeleton Key, Tower Heist, United 93, Very Bad Things, What Dreams May Come, and You, Me, and Dupree.

HBO Max Launches Service in The Nordics, Spain — at Half Price

WarnerMedia’s branded subscription streaming service HBO Max officially launched service today (Oct. 26) in the Nordics (Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland) and Spain. The debut is part of a 27-territory rollout in Europe through 2022.

As part of the rollout, all new subscribers through Nov. 30 will get 50% off the standard monthly price for the lifetime of their subscription. In Spain and Finland, for example, this means new subs pay €4.49 ($5.21) a month. This is in addition to the already announced annual subscription, which cuts the standard monthly fee 30% to $7.35.

HBO and HBO Max ended the most-recent fiscal period with almost 70 million global subs.

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Max Originals coming to HBO Max in Europe in the run up until Christmas include the reboot of “Gossip Girl,” the next chapter of “Sex in the City” with “And Just Like That …,” and Mindy Kaling’s “The Sex Lives of College Girls.” New European productions include the award-winning Danish drama “Kamikaze,” the second season of Norwegian hit “Beforeigners,” and the return of Juan Carrasco in “Venga Juan” and “Dafne and the Rest.”

Top movies coming to Max in the Nordics on launch day include Reminiscence, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat. Warner Bros. movies premiere on Max 45 days after their theatrical release starting this year in the Nordics and next year in Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Greece, Iceland and Central and Eastern Europe, including the Baltic nations.

“With the launch in Europe today, Max is now available in 46 territories globally,” Johannes Larcher, head of HBO Max International, said in a statement. “This is an important milestone as we continue to deliver on our ambition to roll out Max around the world with more territories to come in Europe and Asia next year.”

Max will be available to watch on leading devices and platforms, including smart-TVs (Samsung, LG and Android TV), via streaming devices (Apple TV 4K and Google Chromecast), game consoles (PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S) mobile and tablets (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android), and online at HBO Max will also be available through selected TV distribution partners. Customers will be able to pay via major providers (Visa, Mastercard and PayPal) and via in-app purchase (Apple App Store and Google Play Store).

HBO Max offers up to five viewer profiles, three concurrent streams and no limit on devices per subscription. Select titles are available in 4K, 5.1 Sound and Dolby Atmos.

Data Suggests Sluggish HBO Max Rollout in Europe

Challenges affecting WarnerMedia’s rollout of the HBO Max subscription streaming service are well documented. Most-recently, Warner cautioned that the departure of the Max app from the Amazon Prime Channels platform could see it lose 5 million subscribers.

Now, new data from Digital TV Research contends the service’s launch across Europe is being undermined by existing distribution deals HBO has with regional pay-TV distributors. Indeed, Max will have a limited impact in Western Europe, with just 3.2 million paying subs across seven countries by 2026, according to the London-based research firm.

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“It is not expected to start in several key European countries due to existing long-term deals with pay-TV operators,” principal analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.

Sobering stats considering that when Max launched in the spring of 2020, it had failed to secure distribution through Amazon Fire TV and the Roku platform — the two gateways representing almost 70% of consumer interaction with streaming video.

Regardless, WarnerMedia parent AT&T expects global subscribers of between 120 million and 150 million for Max and HBO by the end of 2025.

Netflix remains the top streamer with 67 million subs by 2026, including up 10 million at the end of 2021. Disney+ will have 53 million subs by 2026 — double the tally at the end of this year, and just behind Amazon Prime Video.

Overall, there will be 238 million SVOD subs across 18 Western European countries in 2026, up from 167 million at the end of 2021. Germany will lead all countries, adding 17 million, followed Italy and France with 10 million each, and the U.K. with 9 million.

HBO Max Launching in Europe Oct. 26

WarnerMedia Sept. 8  announced that the HBO Max subscription streaming video platform will launch in Europe on Oct. 26 with Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra being the first six European countries — and second international launch for the streamer.

Max will be unveiled to Europe at a virtual launch event next month, showcasing the product and content offering, price points and much more.

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In 2022, Max will become available in the following 14 Eastern European countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Additional territory launches are also planned for next year.

“This is a historic moment as HBO Max lands in Europe,” Johannes Larcher, head of HBO Max International, said in a statement. “WarnerMedia movies and series like ‘Harry Potter,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ are passionately consumed by fans all across Europe, and Max has been created to provide them with the most intuitive and convenient viewing experience to watch these and a diverse range of other amazing titles.”

“The unique and exclusive combination of iconic content from Warner Bros., HBO, DC, Cartoon Network, Max Originals, including local productions and more, creates a streaming platform that fans in Europe will love,” added Christina Sulebakk, GM of HBO Max EMEA. “We see enormous potential as we roll-out the all-new, supercharged streaming platform across the region.”

Max will be available to new customers as well as existing customers of HBO España, HBO Nordic and HBO Go (billed either directly or via eligible partners).

In May this year Max celebrated its one-year anniversary in the United States. and in June launched in 39 territories across Latin America and the Caribbean, marking its first availability outside the United States. The platform ended the most-recent fiscal period with 47 million domestic subscribers, 67.5 million globally, when combined with HBO. It is projected to end the year with 73 million combined subs.

Rakuten TV Inks Alchimie Deal to Increase FAST Channel Access Across Europe

Spain-based free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) service Rakuten TV Sept. 2 announced a content license deal with French-based Alchimie to expand the latter’s channels across Europe.

The new channels — HUMANITY, Luxe TV, MMA TV, Big Names, Motorsport TV, Télézap, Explore by TVPlayer and Krime — will be available in multiple territories across Rakuten TV’s 42-country footprint. L’Atelier des Chefswhich has already launched as part of Rakuten TV’s new culinary channels, also is available. More Alchimie channels will be added to the Rakuten TV portfolio in the near future.

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“Partnering with Alchimie is another milestone in our European expansion and reinforces our commitment to deliver localized and relevant content to all audiences,” Teresa López, head of content at Rakuten TV, said in a statement

“Alchimie is in an excellent position to provide Rakuten TV with entertaining themed channels across Europe with regularly refreshed, high-quality content in local languages,” added Nicolas d’Hueppe, CEO at Alchimie.

Rakuten TV linear channels are currently accessible for free on the Rakuten TV app on Samsung and LG Smart TV devices. Rakuten TV is part of Rakuten Group, which focuses on e-commerce, digital content, and communications. Rakuten is the official partner for FC Barcelona, the Golden State Warriors, Davis Cup and Spartan Race.

Netflix Becomes Largest Producer of Original Content in Europe

French lawmakers just ruled that foreign streaming video services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ must allocate at least 25% of local revenue toward locally-produced original content.

Netflix, which has long advocated spending 30% of local revenue on original productions, is well-ahead of the content spending curve, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based firm found that Netflix has become the largest single commissioner of new European scripted content. This represents one of the strongest indicators of the global changes in production market dynamics and represents a boon for European producers as the region becomes increasingly important for global streamers.

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While European Public Service Broadcasters have long been the largest commissioners of new scripted content, Netflix passed them by during 2020, including heavyweights the BBC and Germany’s ZDF in terms of number of commissions across Western and Central Europe. Its local approach to global scale means it will increasingly ascend to become the most important single commissioner at a regional level, according to Ampere.

“As a marker of the wider changes in the entertainment industry, the ascent of Netflix to become the largest single commissioner of new European Scripted content is pivotal,” Guy Bisson, executive director of Ampere Analysis, said in a statement.

To date, Europe’s major public broadcasters have driven the European content creation industry and local drama production. However, the ever-increasing importance of international markets to Netflix’s subscriber growth, its wide investment in locally relevant drama across the region, and the shift to pan-regional or global content as the basis for value means that today, global streamers like Netflix are driving local markets.

“With the newer studio direct streaming platforms already beginning to emulate Netflix’s strategy of commissioning new scripted content outside the U.S., there could not be a better time to be a European content creator,” Bisson said.

Rakuten TV Expands AVOD Service Across Europe

Rakuten TV April 27 announced the expansion of its AVOD platform across Europe with the launch of more than 90 channels in 42 markets. The launch represents a further step in the Japanese e-commerce media company’s aim to compete with Amazon Prime and Prime Video in select markets.

Rakuten TV categories include movies, entertainment, lifestyle, music, sports, news, TV shows and kids programming. The platform includes global brands, such as Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Quicktake, CNNi (available in the U.K., Germany and Poland), Euronews (the first live channel integrated into Rakuten TV’s AVOD offer), Qwest TV, Reuters, and Comcast-owned Xumo-powered content, including eight Stingray channels, The Hollywood Reporter channel and top brands from Condé Nast, such as Glamour, GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue and Wired.

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Rakuten TV-owned channels, a broad and varied selection of content curated by categories, based on specific genres and interests, inclue Action, Comedy, Drama, British Films, Family, Documentaries, Thriller, Romance, Spotlight (featuring Rakuten TV original and exclusive content as well as a selection of movies) and Top Free(a selection that highlights the best films currently available on the platform).

“We are eager to contribute once again to the disruption of the entertainment industry with this major step on the growth and innovation on Rakuten TV, which aims to enrich our business model and content offer” Jacinto Roca, founder/CEO at Rakuten TV, said in a statement“At a time when the entertainment sector is living an unprecedented transformation, and consumption habits are constantly evolving, we are striving to adapt our business model to meet users and advertisers needs at once.”

The launch aims to reinforce Rakuten TV’s proposition as the only European platform combining TVOD (transactional video-on-demand), AVOD (advertising video-on-demand) and SVOD (subscription video-on-demand) services. Rakuten TV is available in 43 European countries and currently reaches more than 90 million households due its pre-installed app in many Smart TV manufacturers’ devices and remote controls.

Netflix No. 2 TV Group in Europe in Revenue

The Netflix star just gets brighter. New data from Ampere Analysis reveals that the SVOD behemoth became the second largest TV group in Europe by revenue in 2020. Comcast, through its acquisition of satellite TV operator Sky, is the Euro leader with 12% market share compared to Netflix’s 6.1%.

“Since launching in 2012, Netflix has grown rapidly in Europe,” analyst Tony Maroulis said in a statement.

Indeed, by 2016, Netflix had launched its services across much of Europe and surpassed $1 billion in revenue. By 2017, it had the largest customer tally of any subscription TV business in Europe. And by 2020, Netflix had overtaken German public broadcaster ARD.

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It would seem that there is no limit to Netflix’s meteoric rise as the streamer continues outsized foreign growth, and helps itself to a greater portion of the audio-visual revenue.

“While Netflix has enjoyed success across the continent, local broadcasters are facing increased pressure,” said Maroulis. “The coronavirus pandemic has thrown the TV advertising market into decline, compounding and accelerating the woes of traditional and established brands. And while Netflix’s pockets are getting deeper, local entities are struggling to compete.”

Ampere contends that over the next few years, Netflix alone is set to be better funded than many leading commercial broadcasters, and its scale means that it is able to produce quantities of high-quality content that most of its local competitors cannot match.

“This global vs. local imbalance will further accelerate the online viewing shift, which is now beginning to shift to older demographics as well as young,” Maroulis said.