WarnerMedia To Stop Airing HBO, WB TV Channels In India, Pakistan From Dec 15

OTT platforms and Covid-19 pandemic had accelerated the need for further change, Managing Director of WarnerMedia’s entertainment network in South Asia said.

WarnerMedia is discontinuing HBO and WB TV channels in India, Pakistan, Maldives and Bangladesh from December 15, the company has said.

“After 20 years of successes for the HBO linear movie channel in South Asia and more than a decade with the WB linear movie channel, this was a difficult decision to make. The pay-TV industry landscape and the market dynamics have shifted dramatically, and the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for further change,” said Siddharth Jain, SVP and Managing Director of WarnerMedia’s entertainment network in South Asia, in a statement, according to TechCrunch.

TechCrunch’s report said that HBO’s market in India and South Asian nations is much smaller compared to Times Internet’s Movies Now, Star Movies and Sony Pix, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council.

HBO however will continue its content syndication partnership with Disney’s Hotstar in India, meaning shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Insecure, Euphoria, Westworld and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver will continue to be available online.

WarnerMedia will also continue operating its kids brands Cartoon Network and Pogo in South Asia and retain its employees in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru to handle its kids channel operations, sales and marketing, and also the distribution of CNN International, Variety’s report said.

“We have our work cut out in the market. But you will hear more about HBO Max in the next months or next year. It’s going to be our workhorse going forward,” Gerhard Zeiler, head of international, WarnerMedia had said early September.

Reuters reported last week that WarnerMedia was preparing a restructuring that aims to cut costs by as much as 20% and would result in layoffs, according to a Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the matter.

The overhaul, which is expected to begin in the coming weeks, would result in thousands of layoffs across Warner Bros Studios and TV channels like HBO, TBS and TNT, according to the report.

“We shared with our employees recently that the organisation will be restructured to respond to those changes and prioritise growth opportunities, with an emphasis on direct-to-consumer,” the company said in a statement.

Earlier in August, WarnerMedia said it would cut jobs as part of a broad restructuring focused around its HBO Max streaming business.

The reorganisation included the consolidation of its film and TV studios, creation of HBO Max operating business unit and the exit of executives Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly, who oversaw the creation of the streaming business.