Budapest, Hungary – Warner Bros Discovery announced this week that it would halt all local original productions for HBO Max in several European countries, including in Central Europe and Eastern Europe.
The move, part of Warner Bros Discovery’s global restructuring and cost-cutting scheme a few months after completing the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger, concerns a string of Central and Eastern European markets – including Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Hungary – as well as the Nordics, the Netherlands, and Turkey.
“As we continue to work on combining HBO Max and Discovery+ into one global streaming service showcasing the breadth of content across Warner Bros Discovery, we are reviewing our current content proposition on the existing services,” HBO Max said in a statement.
“Our commitment to these markets has not changed. We will continue to commission local content for Warner Bros Discovery’s linear networks in these regions and we remain substantial acquirors of local third-party content for use on our streaming services.”
The announcement took many insiders by surprise. “We were shocked to hear about the decision, we are at a loss for words,” reacted Ádám Pinczés-Pressing, communications officer for HBO Hungary. “We are confident that the in-house produced content we have created over the past ten years has provided a lasting experience for our viewers. We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has contributed their knowledge and dedication during this time.”
Shows that are already in the development phase in the region will not be affected, while some programs could be sold to other platforms and publishers, according to Variety.
Among the popular shows to be affected in Central Europe, Hungarian drama The Informant – which we recently reviewed on Kafkadesk – or the Czech 2019 series The Sleepers will be removed from the US VOD platform.
Reports suggest that original content production could resume in Central Europe once the HBO Max and Discovery+ platforms have effectively merged.