Presenting its plans for Latin America on Wednesday at an online pre-launch presentation, HBO Max may have just given an inkling of some of the guiding principles for its subsequent global roll out.
Bowing on June 29 in 39 territories in Latin America and the Caribbean, the launch will mark the WarnerMedia’s streaming service’s first major international bow.
Pricing in Latin America will be “aggressively” low when compared to the U.S., starting at just $3 a month, and averaging $3 to $6, Luis Durán, HBO Max Latin America general manager said at the launch presentation.
“Latin America has 100 million TV households. Of these, only a small percentage enjoy HBO today. If we want to reach the 100 million households, the first thing we have to do is to ask how much these homes can pay,” he added, also calling the pricing strategy “focused.” Rates will vary across territories in the region.
Unlike the U.S., HBO Max in Latin America will also feature live sports in the form of UEFA Champions League soccer games, live-streamed for Mexico and Brazil. HBO Max will screen every single match, said Tomás Yankelevich, WarnerMedia Latin America chief content officer, general entertainment.
New Warner Bros. movies will also be available on the service at no extra cost 35 days after their bow in theaters in Latin America. These titles will include Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “In the Heights”; “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” starring LeBron James; “The Suicide Squad,” directed by James Gunn and starring Margot Robbie and John Cena; and “Dune,” starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya, and directed by Denis Villeneuve, HBO Max announced.
Whatever the strength of HBO Max’s brand as a straight-to-consumer proposition, WarnerMedia has closed a first bevy of carriage deals which include mobile operator AT&T Mexico and Sky Brasil, and, across the region, DirecTV Latin America and DirecTVGO and Carlos Slim’s Grupo América Móvil.
The biggest selling point at the HBO Max Latin America presentation remained, however, the arsenal of high-end originals, both library and upcoming, sourced from HBO, Warner Bros., Max Originals and DC, which also bulwark HBO Max in the U.S.
At the presentation, Yankelevich also suggested that HBO Max in Latin America would “internationalize certain DC world characters whom we believe have enormous potential.”
“We have plans to make series based around some quite iconic characters and others which aren’t maybe so well known,” he added.
Most of Wednesday’s launch was spent talking up the library, which is one of HBO Max’s most competitive selling points, whether classic Warner Bros. movie franchises such as “Harry Potter,” “The Lord of the Rings” and “Matrix,” or DC universe hits such as “Zack Snyder’s Justice League.” HBO Max will also screen iconic television titles such as “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” and HBO original series “The Sopranos,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Sex and the City.”
Of new HBO Max originals, Kaley Cuoco appeared online to talk up “The Flight Attendant.” Further titles announced for Latin America included the Ridley Scott-produced “Raised by Wolves,” new reality/doc series “Selena + Chef,” special “Friends: The Reunion,” the next chapter of “Sex and the City” in “And Just Like That…” and the “Gossip Girl” reboot.
Of Latin American originals, HBO Max looks sets to inherit banner titles from Yankelevich’s push into Mexican production at Turner Latin America, such as women’s soccer team series “Las Bravas” and romantic comedic melodrama “Love Spells.”
At Argentine broadcast network Telefe and then Turner Latin America, Yankelevich built his reputation in part in a drive into local or regional production, both scripted and unscripted, often made in co-production.
On Wednesday, he announced that HBO Max Latin America would make “over 100 original productions from now to the end of 2022, ranging from scripted to unscripted, documentaries, realities, kids and adults content.”
Current production partners include EndemolShine Brasil, BTF Media, The Mediapro Studio, Dopamine, Floresta, Conspiraçao, Boutique Filmes, Pampa Films, Redrum and Dynamo. One large question for Latin American independent producers is if HBO Max will continue Yankelevich’s co-production strategy at TLA.
All HBO subscribers in Latin America will have automatic access to HBO Max, Duran confirmed.