HBO Max is halting original productions across much of Europe, Variety has reported. The streaming service confirmed that it will no longer produce originals in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey, leaving only Spain and France untouched. The news is part of a plan from parent Warner Bros. Discovery to cut some $3 billion in costs following its split from AT&T.
“We are reviewing our current content proposition 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, as well as ceasing our original programming efforts for HBO Max in the Nordics and Central Europe. We have also ceased our nascent development activities in the newer territories of Netherlands and Turkey, which had commenced over the past year.”
Some of the service’s most praised shows including Lust (Sweden) and Kamikaze (Denmark) came from the Nordics and other affected regions. On top of ceasing production, HBO Max will remove those shows along with the Hungarian drama The Informant from its service globally. Projects already in production and other approved shows will reportedly continue — but they may be sold to other platforms, with Warner acting strictly as producer.
Streaming content production has been a bright spot in Europe, as Netflix and other platforms have hit the 30 percent local content quotas required in major markets there. HBO Max’s announcement may put a damper on that, though, as “redundancies are likely across [HBO Max’s] European business,” Variety noted.
More ominously, “similar decision-making for HBO Max is currently taking place in all territories where the streamer operates, which spans the U.S., Latin America and parts of Europe,” it added. Along with layoffs recently announced by Netflix, it’s the first sign of dark clouds during the era of peak TV.