Another Blow to Max NZ?

Today’s revelation that yet another streaming service is to launch in NZ could deter indefinitely Warner Bros. Discovery from offering Max here.

The NZ Herald’s Media Insider column reports NBCUniversal will enter the local market on Thursday with its realty platform Hayu, a showcase for series like Below Deck, Vanderpump Rules and the US The Real Housewives — many of which already air on WBD’s Bravo channel.

But a key point of difference is most of these shows will stream here the same day as their US broadcast.

“Targeting fans of the reality genre, Hayu offers over 300 shows and more than 10,000 episodes of top reality TV content including every single series, season and episode, current and past, of world-renowned franchises and spin-offs,” Hayu said in a statement released to Media Insider.

Hayu will be available on all devices and NZ will be its 45th territory.

“The move into the New Zealand market comes at a bold time, economically, with many New Zealanders facing a cost-of-living crisis,” Media Insider notes.

“The range of streaming services has never been stronger, with Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon’s Prime, Disney+, YouTube, Sky, TVNZ, Three and others all offering streaming platforms and content.”

And that’s why you shouldn’t hold your breath for a NZ Max service.

WBD already has a lucrative legacy deal with Sky for most of its HBO/Max content.

And such are the challenges of the financial fall-out from its costly merger and the recent US writers’ strike that creating a new entity for a market as small as ours will be well down its “to do” list — if it hasn’t dropped off altogether.

According to Variety, WBD “may favour local partnerships over [a] worldwide Max rollout”.

Speaking yesterday at the APOS conference in Indonesia, WBD’s CEO and president of global streaming and games, JB Perrette, said that in some markets Max may never happen.

“If we think we’re going to have success and profitability, if our market differentiation is viable enough to make a go of it and have a profitable business over a three-to-five year timeline [then we will launch Max.]

“If the answer is ‘no’ because the market has ARPUs [average reach per person] that are just too low or it is way over-served by a ton of other players, who are spending on a ton of content and losing a ton of money, we may say this is not the right time.

“If we think we can be successful based on the three metrics that we have [profitability, market share and scale] then, yes, great, we’ll go and figure out how best to tackle it.

“But if the answer is no, we don’t see a path, then we’ll find partnerships and other ways to go to market.”

Variety says Perrette’s tactical approach flows from a macro assessment that the streaming market has gone too far too fast and that WBD, in particular, needs to return to rationality and profitability.

“We went through a decade of great oversupply and great under-pricing and we are in a period of rationalisation and embracing the aggregation [process],” he said.

“There’s structural aggregation and there’s rebundling. I think you’re working towards a world where, over the next five to 10 years, you’re going to end up with three to five feasible players, in addition local champions in individual markets.”

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8 Responses to “Another Blow to Max NZ?”

  1. I would love to see Paramount+ come to New Zealand 😁

  2. Not gonna’ happen in a hurry, Trevor — until the streaming dust settles, expect the likes of Paramount, Sony and Lionsgate to continue distributing via other players’ platforms (Sky, TVNZ etc).

  3. Yes I know but it would be so good 😁

  4. I just read a news article saying that Warner Bros. Discovery are hoping to start MAX in Australia in 2025. I wonder if that includes New Zealand 🤔

  5. Just remember, Trevor, it’s two years since Paramount+ launched in Australia and we’re still no closer to P+ streaming in NZ.

  6. Does this deal allow Bravo to air the express and first-run shows on HayU at a later date or are they going to gradually move all the content behind a paywall and only allow linear broadcast and restrict ThreeNow’s Bravo catalogue, Philip?

  7. Additional side note Philip, does this mean we could see Britbox on this side of the Tasman as well? Is that pie in the sky wishful thinking?

  8. I would get Britbox if it came to New Zealand especially if it includes the classic Doctor Who shows. It looks like Disney+ is only going to have the new episodes 🤔

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