HBO and WB Channels to go off-air from Dec 15

WarnerMedia International, parent company of popular english movie channels HBO and WB decided to shutdown its operations in India

WarnerMedia International has announced that it will be pulling off its movie channels HBO SD and HD linear in India and Pakistan, as well as the WB linear movie channel in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Maldives from 15 December 2020.

The group will continue to operate and invest more in its kids brands Cartoon Network and Pogo in the South Asia region, including increasing local animation production.

HBO started it's operations on May 1, 1992 and enjoyed top spot in English movie channel along with Star Movies for more than 20 years. The HD experience, introduced by Movies Now, has redefined the way viewers watch English movies in India, making it the preferred English Movie channel. The channel has been successful in dethroning decade old established players like Star Movies and HBO.

The closure of HBO and WB, which enjoyed strong positions in the English content market, is an indicator of the growth of OTT platforms, especially amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The company is set to launch its own streaming platform, HBO Max soon. For now, HBO has a content syndication partnership with Disney's streaming platform in India, and offers its content through the platform.

While HBO is a household name in the America and several other countries, in India and other South Asian nations, its audience size diminished gradually. Times Internet’s Movies Now, Star Movies and Sony Pix had a considerably larger viewership than HBO in India last month, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council, India’s ratings agency.

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.

"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," said Gerhard Zeiler, head of WarnerMedia International, sometime back, hinting at the release of the streaming platform in the country.


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