Paramount+ faces earnings challenges, whilst Warner Bros pulls back on some HBO Max-related plans in Europe.
At the absolute top end of the current video on demand streaming wars, Netflix – as has been widely reported – is facing no shortages of challenges. Subscriber numbers are dropping, rival services are fighting it for talent, and the firm is having to make layoffs to offset its drop in revenues.
But it’d be remiss to suggest its alone with the challenges ahead. Disney+ is still a little way off the aggressive subscriber target set by its management, although it looks in a decent position, for instance.
More pressingly though, both Warner Bros and Paramount might be up against it a little.
Warner Bros can’t even launch its HBO Max service in the UK until 2025, unless it manages to extricate itself from deals with Sky ahead of that time. But as it rolls the service out around Europe, the UK is at the back of the queue. Furthermore, we learn this week that after starting up localised production in certain countries around Europe – the Netherlands and Turkey – it’s now pulling back from that plan less than a year after said production work got up and running.
It’s part, Screen Daily reports, of a ‘global strategic review’. Warner Bros will still have production hubs in Europe, and of course it makes plenty of films out of its Leavesden facility in the UK. Yet clearly also, every cent counts at the moment.
Paramount+ meanwhile managed to successfully launch in the UK last month, but analysts are watching the performance of the service with interest. It’s got decent, but hardly Netflix-size, subscriber numbers around the world so far. Yet The Hollywood Reporter is now, well, reporting ‘slowing revenue growth’ for the service ahead. Not enough to cause major headaches, but perhaps a minor-ish warning of trouble ahead.
Still, for the minute, Paramount is having a bumper year off the back of films such as Top Gun: Maverick, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 and The Lost City. For the minute, it’s champagne corks. But as Netflix has found out, streaming and maintaining growth comes with particular challenges…