General Manager of the brand in AL reveals that WarnerMedia's service aims to reach 100 million homes in the region

A little over a year after launching in the United States, HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s premium streaming service, arrived in Latin America and the Caribbean last week. The launch of the service heats up the dispute in the regional market, as in addition to competitive prices — with two subscription plans ranging between R$ 19 and R$ 28 — the platform has a collection of more than 15 thousand hours of content, including established franchises such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Sex & The City, Friends and the DC universe.

Luis Duran, general manager of HBO Max in Latin America (a position he assumed in January this year to lead the service’s local launch process), reveals that the platform intends to launch 100 local productions, 45 of which are Brazilian, within 18 months , and reach 100 million households on the continent.

1. Why did the company adopt as a strategy to launch HBO Max in Latin America months after its launch in the United States? Why was there such a wait?

Duran – There are several considerations. First of all, there’s the ability in technology to be able to do a lot of things in a short time when it comes to software development and technically complex releases, because obviously it’s better to do things piecemeal. This was a big consideration in defining the launch, which started with the United States, followed by launching the service in Brazil, and then in Latin America, Europe and other markets. The other consideration has to do with content rights, where there were a number of existing commitments that also conditioned, in some way, our launch schedule in Latin America.

2. The streaming segment has become increasingly competitive around the world, and it’s no different in Latin America. How is it possible to create a differential for HBO Max to compete strongly in this segment?

Duran – In order to compete for the limited time that consumers have for entertainment — in this case, video entertainment — we have to be different and this has to do, above all, with the dimension of the content and the brand. In the case of our brand, we believe that we came with a very strong identity, with a great marketing campaign, which will make us relevant to the Latin American consumer. And the other part, obviously, is that, as a streaming service, we have to have different content. And the third differentiating element we believe in is the offer. We have a mobile plan, with a very attractive price for the Latin American consumer, which opens the doors for us to compete for a very large market.

3. In the presentation for the Latin American market, recently, HBO Max said that it intends to invest heavily in local content, with productions made in Brazil and other countries in Latin America. What are the productions and works that should be included in the platform’s collection?

Duran – We recently announced that we will be making 100 Latin American productions, such as Max Originals, for Latin America in the first 18 months after launch. Today, almost 50 are already in production. With this, we believe that we have a good degree of progress in relation to this goal and, without a doubt, we will achieve it. And we believe that around 40% or 45% of these productions will be Brazilian. In the next 18 months, we will be releasing around 45 Max Originals titles produced in Brazil, which is a large number in the medium term. We have even greater ambitions in the long term, but in the medium term, this is our objective and, judging by where we are today, we believe we are capable of achieving it. Our first original in the scripted content area should come in the middle or end of this month, based on the content publishing schedule we have.

4. How has HBO set the subscription pricing policy and what is the target number of subscribers for the coming months?

Duran – What I can say is that the ambition is great. I believe that we have a very robust content, offer and product that is relevant at a technological level in the current Latin American context. Therefore, we believe that we will serve 100 million homes in Latin America. This is our only ambition today. We will continue step by step, but with this great ambition and, for that, we have our content catalog and the price, very competitive for the Brazilian market.

5. This year the global merger of Warner and Discovery was announced. Is there a possibility that, in the future, companies will integrate the platforms?

Duran – We recently announced that we will be making 100 Latin American productions, such as Max Originals, for Latin America in the first 18 months after launch. Today, almost 50 are already in production. With this, we believe that we have a good degree of progress in relation to this goal and, without a doubt, we will achieve it. And we believe that around 40% or 45% of these productions will be Brazilian. In the next 18 months, we will be releasing around 45 Max Originals titles produced in Brazil, which is a large number in the medium term. We have even greater ambitions in the long term, but in the medium term, this is our objective and, judging by where we are today, we believe we are capable of achieving it. Our first original in the scripted content area should come in the middle or end of this month, based on the content publishing schedule we have.

6. How has HBO defined the subscription pricing policy and what is the target number of subscribers for the coming months?

Duran – What I can say is that the ambition is great. I believe that we have a very robust content, offer and product that is relevant at a technological level in the current Latin American context. Therefore, we believe that we will serve 100 million homes in Latin America. This is our only ambition today. We will continue step by step, but with this great ambition and, for that, we have our content catalog and the price, very competitive for the Brazilian market.


7. This year the global merger of Warner and Discovery was announced. Is there a possibility that, in the future, companies will integrate the platforms?

Duran – Obviously, a merger between HBO Max and Discovery’s streaming platforms is one of the possibilities (in May this year, AT&T, owner of WarnerMedia, announced the merger of WarnerMedia division and Discovery group with the proposal to, above all, create a giant in the streaming segment). But I believe it is too early to know what will happen. We’ve been, as you can imagine, very focused on the launch of HBO Max in Brazil these past few months and we haven’t had time to think about what’s to come.

8. In Brazil we have some models of partnerships between streaming companies that offer integrated subscription plans. Does HBO Max have any plans to partner with other players?

Duran – We, as WarnerMedia, have been working in Latin America for over a hundred years. In Brazil, we have been present for a long time and have a strong relationship with television and cable TV operators and with internet and mobile telephony operators. Obviously, we are strengthening our relationships so that we can have a large distribution force in the country. We launched the streaming platform with all the partners we have such as WarnerMedia in Brazil, such as TIM, Vivo, Claro, Oi. All these partners are offering to their customers of linear television to HBO Max as a complement to television channels and selling what is called an on-demand subscription to HBO Max.