WarnerMedia has decided to discontinue HBO in India and Pakistan and the WB Linear TV in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives from 15th December. According to Siddharth Jain, MD of Warner Media South Asia, this decision comes amidst the changing dynamics of paid TV channels and the market has seen a substantial shift, especially accelerated by the ongoing pandemic. They have not been able to find a sustainable business model in South Asia despite their prevalence in this region for more than a decade.
As Tech Crunch has pointed out, in India these channels cater to a select few as compared to other English movie channels like Movies Now in India last month as per Broadcast Audience Research Council, India’s rating Agency.
WarnerMedia plans to continue its kids channel, Cartoon Network and Pogo and distribute CNN International in India which will be handled by its employees based in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore who will be retained. It plans to increase its animation production in the country.
However, Gerhard Zeiler , head of WarnerMedia International, during the APOS Summit 2020 hinted that HBO Max, the video streaming service may be introduced in India soon. It was introduced in the US only in 2020. HBO has also partnered with Disney Hotstar in India where HBO Originals can be viewed.
The discontinuation of two strong English Channel may be attributed to the exponential growth of Over-the-Top (OTT) streaming players like Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar in India which have gained momentum especially after the pandemic, resulting in the decline of viewers for paid TV channels.