WarnerMedia decides to take movie channels off air in India

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American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate WarnerMedia International has decided the shutdown of the HBO SD (standard definition) and HD (high definition) linear movie channels in India and Pakistan, as well as the WB linear movie channel in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Maldives, effective 15 December 2020.

It will continue to operate and invest in the kids brands Cartoon Network and POGO in south Asia, including increasing local animation production in this region, the company said in a statement.

“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,” Siddharth Jain, senior vice-president and managing director for WarnerMedia’s entertainment networks in South Asia, said in a statement.

WarnerMedia operates channels like CNN and Cartoon Network in India.

Gerhard Zeiler, head of international, WarnerMedia, in a fireside chat at the APOS Summit 2020, an event curated by Media Partners Asia this September, had hinted that HBO Max, its video streaming service launched in the United States this May, may be brought to India soon.

“If you want to be a strong global player, you have to be strong in Asia-Pacific. In India, we don’t have the scale that we want and where we have to be. In order to get there, the workhorse will be HBO Max,” Zeiler had said.

While Warner has a foothold in countries like China and Japan, the company wants 70% of its revenue coming from international markets in 10 years as opposed to 30% currently, he had added.

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