HBO Max halts original productions across large parts of Europe

HBO Max halts original productions across much of Europe, diversity has called. The streaming service confirmed that it will no longer produce originals in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey, with only Spain and France remaining unaffected. The news is part of a plan by parent company Warner Bros. Discovery to cut costs by about $3 billion after it split from AT&T.

“We are reviewing our current content offerings on the existing services,” a spokesperson told Variety in a statement. “As part of this process, we have decided to remove a limited amount of original programming from HBO Max and to end our original programming efforts for HBO Max in Scandinavia and Central Europe. We have also halted our nascent development activities in the newer territories of the Netherlands and Turkey, which had begun last year.”

Some of the service’s most critically acclaimed shows, including desire (Sweden) and kamikaze (Denmark) came from Scandinavia and other affected regions. In addition to halting production, HBO Max will be removing these shows along with the Hungarian drama The informant of his ministry worldwide. Projects already in production and other approved shows will reportedly continue – but they may be sold to other platforms, with Warner acting solely as producer.

Streaming content production has been a bright spot in Europe as Netflix and other platforms have achieved the 30% local content quotas required in their main markets. HBO Max’s announcement might put a damper on that, however, as “layoffs are likely [HBO Max’s] European business”, diversity written down.

More ominously, “similar decisions for HBO Max are currently taking place in all territories where the streamer operates, which include the US, Latin America and parts of Europe,” it added. Along with Netflix’s recently announced layoffs, this is the first sign of dark clouds in the era of high-end television.

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