×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Amazon, HBO Max, Netflix Dish on Their International Plans

It’s different strokes for different streaming folks as Amazon, HBO Max and Netflix lifted the lid on their international plans in London this week.

Amazon said it’s not in the volume game and talked up a select number of hyper-local shows, while Netflix dished on plans to rev up non-English-language originals. The message from HBO Max was that it’s laying the groundwork for its international launch, but details will have to wait until after it has gotten through its domestic launch next May.

Amazon’s European originals director, Georgia Brown, said its originals strategy is “hyper-local, with a spotlight on local production, local language to drive subscribers in those territories.” Talking up the potential of non-English-language fare internationally, she said that “language is kind of irrelevant now,” and “audiences are very open – they just want fantastic content and to fall into those worlds.”

Netflix also warmed to the non-English-language theme at the Content London Drama Summit. But unlike Amazon, it wants quantity as well as quality. International originals boss Kelly Luegenbiehl said it would double down on non-English fare, ramping up from the 80 or so originals it already has in this category. It’s looking for a foreign-language “Bandersnatch” interactive show as well as unscripted, comedy and kids’ content.

How will Netflix’s global programming strategy change in an increasingly crowded and competitive landscape? It won’t, at least for the time being. “What we’re doing is working, and so we want to be doing more of that,” Luegenbiehl said.“If people stop watching our shows, I think [that] will be an indication for us that we need to make a shift, but that’s not happening.”

HBO Max boss Kevin Reilly was on hand to talk about the service’s upcoming launch in the U.S. and then Latin America. Details of rollout in Europe and elsewhere are still taking shape.

HBO has recently extended an output deal with Comcast’s Sky in the U.K., Germany, and Italy, meaning that SVOD launches in those countries are unlikely, which rules out three of Europe’s big five territories. Elsewhere there are HBO Europe services, which have been pushing into original programming. “The exact timing of when HBO Max will be offered in Europe – we haven’t yet pinned that down, but we’re starting now with laying the tracks, the foundations for those services,” Reilly said.

What did emerge is that HBO Max will be different country by country. “Unlike some of our competitors – say, Netflix – where it is the same service in every territory, I think we can anticipate that the HBO Max product and alliances underneath it will likely take different forms in different territories. It won’t be one service, necessarily, that is globally transported.”

With a number of relationships in place, “we don’t necessarily want to unravel those existing businesses,” Reilly said. He added that, while programming is being yanked from rival streamers, “we’re not now closing down all pipes to just service one business.”

Reilly told the London crowd of international producers and distributors that the door was open to sell-in ideas for the U.S. HBO Max, but ahead of launch the service is pretty fully stocked. “I want to encourage everybody to engage with us in partnership – just not today,” he said.

Reilly also talked about ultimately offering an ad-supported streaming product and offered encouraging words for producers in terms of sharing viewing information. “I don’t personally think it’s viable to hold all the information in-house anymore and just send up smoke signals periodically about how everything is going. We’re going to look to have a more transparent approach to that.”

Reilly’s comment came on the same day that Scott Stuber, Netflix’s head of original films, said in an onstage conversation with Variety editor-in-chief Claudia Eller that the company was “building towards” greater transparency about viewership and other metrics.

More TV

  • Jay Sures

    UTA Co-President Jay Sures Reappointed to University of California Board of Regents

    UTA co-president Jay Sures has been reappointed to the University of California Board of Regents for a 12-year term. The term, which is still pending Senate confirmation, will be effective from March 2 and was announced among a larger batch of appointments by Governor Gavin Newsom. Sures was first appointed to the position in Jan. [...]

  • Netflix - The Witcher

    'The Witcher' on Track to Be Netflix's Biggest TV Show Premiere Ever, Company Claims

    Netflix said “The Witcher,” the fantasy series starring Henry Cavill, is pacing to be its biggest first-season original TV series ever. “The Witcher,” which debuted Dec. 20 on Netflix, was chosen to be watched by 76 million customer households in the first four weeks of release, according to the company. That would appear to mean [...]

  • RuPaul

    RuPaul, JJ Watt to Host 'Saturday Night Live' in February

    RuPaul and JJ Watt will both make their “Saturday Night Live” hosting debuts in February. NBC announced Tuesday that Watt will host the Feb. 1 installment of the long-running sketch series with musical guest Luke Combs. Watt is currently a defensive end for the Houston Texans and three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year. Combs’ [...]

  • Gary Dauberman

    'Annabelle,' 'IT' Screenwriter Gary Dauberman Inks First-Look Deal at UCP

    Gary Dauberman has signed a first-look television deal with Universal Content Productions (UCP), the studio announced Tuesday. Under the deal, Dauberman will write and produce scripted projects across all platforms. He will also launch his own production company, Coin Operated. Dauberman is known for his work on the screenplay for the new film version of [...]

  • Chris McCarthy Sets ViacomCBS Team for

    Chris McCarthy Sets ViacomCBS Leadership Team for Entertainment & Youth Division

    ViacomCBS’ senior leadership ranks are coming into sharper focus as Chris McCarthy, head of the sprawling Entertainment and Youth wing has solidified his senior leadership team. A number of executives closely associated with McCarthy are gaining additional responsibilities, including programming maven Nina Diaz, MTV chief marketing officer Jacqueline Parkes and PR chief Liza Burnett Fefferman. [...]

  • Jonathan Del Arco

    'Star Trek: Picard' Actor Jonathan Del Arco Launches 'Hollywood Caucus' Podcast With First Guest Jeri Ryan

    Jonathan Del Arco is boldly going into the intersection of entertainment and politics. On Tuesday, the “Star Trek: Picard” actor debuted his new podcast “Hollywood Caucus,” with co-host Tara Karsian. Hailing from Dan Harmon’s Starburns Audio, the podcast will feature interviews with figures from both the entertainment industry and the political sphere. For the premiere [...]

  • The Prince HBO Max

    HBO Max Orders Animated British Royal Family Satire Series 'The Prince'

    HBO Max has ordered an animated comedy series centered on the British royal family. “The Prince” hails from writer and executive producer Gary Janetti. Based on Janetti’s Instagram account, the series takes a look at the royals through the eyes of Prince George, the eldest child of Prince William and Princess Kate. Janetti will voice [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content