WarnerMedia Ups Michael Quigley to Lead Content Acquisitions

WarnerMedia Entertainment, in a restructuring, has promoted Michael Quigley to spearhead the media company’s direct-to-consumer business as well content acquisitions.

Quigley, who was EVP, content acquisitions, will now lead the unit with other promoted executives, Jonathan Melber, SVP of content acquisitions at HBO Max, and Royce Battleman, SVP of content acquisitions for HBO, Cinemax, TNT, TruTV and TBS, reporting to him.

“Michael and his team have the breadth and depth of experience required in today’s competitive marketplace to both land defining content and rewrite our rules for how content will move through all exhibition windows going forward,” Kevin Reilly, COO, HBO Max, and president, TBS, TNT and TruTV, said in a statement.

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Reilly credited Quigley and his team for enabling HBO Max to launch in May with coveted series such as “Friends,” “South Park,” and “Doctor Who,” among others.

Other changes in the content acquisitions include HBO executives Leslie Cohen and Chris Grunden handling movies, while Valerie Meraz, SVP, content acquisitions & strategy at Turner in Atlanta, joins the two reporting to Battleman.

Elizabeth Bannan Atcheson, senior director of content acquisition at Turner, reports to Melber from Atlanta.

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“Our networks will continue to have hit series like ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ as well as many of the most coveted major studio [titles], such as Joker and Fast and Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw,” Reilly said in a statement.

HBO Max Won’t Carry Cinemax, Boomerang, DC Universe Programming

When WarnerMedia launches HBO Max in May, the $14.99 subscription streaming video platform won’t include programming from Cinemax or SVOD services Boomerang and DC Universe. At the same time, the former Time Warner company plans to keep operating HBO Now and HBO Go concurrently with Max, according to Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max and president of TNT, TBS, and truTV.

The Boomerang and DC Universe apps launched in 2017 and 2018, respectively, priced at $4.99 and $7.99 each.

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Speaking Jan. 15 at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena, Calif., Reilly, along with Michael Quigley, EVP of content acquisitions and strategy, and Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, outlined additional details on Max, which will rival HBO Now as the most-expensive SVOD service on the market.

Specifically, reports suggest WarnerMedia would migrate HBO Now subs to Max to help jumpstart subscriptions, while also linking it to on-demand platform HBO Go.

He said it remains up in the air how “[we] manage that whole ecosystem ourselves.”

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Reilly said Cinemax, which has traditionally been bundled with HBO to pay-TV distributors, would be moving away from original productions. The channel’s notable shows included “Banshee,” “Warrior,” “Outcast,” Quarry,” and “The Knick”.

Cinemax shows such as “Strike Back,” “Gangs of London,” and “C.B. Strike,” are co-productions with Comcast-owned Sky Studios and the BBC, respectively.

“You can expect that there won’t be any more originals,” Reilly said.

WarnerMedia plans to fill the void with high-profile catalog shows such as “Friends,” and “The Big Bang Theory,” in addition to hundreds of Warner Bros. movies. Max also inked a three-year production deal with director Steven Soderbergh, who is helming original movie, Let Them All Talk, for the service.

“This will be the preeminent classic movie offering of any service out there,” Quigley said.