After their two decades of service, the renowned English film channel HBO which served as a gateway for Indians to Hollywood Movies, has discontinued its airing in India on 15th December 2020. WarnerMedia International has already announced that they will be shutting down HBO and WB movies in other South Asian countries including Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Maldives along with India by the end of the year 2020. This decision was taken as a result of the shifting market dynamics with the introduction of OTT streaming platforms like Amazon Prime, Netflix e.t.c. Even though there was an exponential growth in the number of viewers preferring to view contents in english, TV channels like HBO and WB were unable to capitalize on this, but to loose their grounds owing to the stringent competition from the on demand streaming platforms.
“After 20 years of successes for the HBO linear movie channel in South Asia and more than a decade with the WB linear movie channel, this was a difficult decision to make. The pay-TV industry landscape and the market dynamics have shifted dramatically, and the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for further change,” said Siddharth Jain, senior vice president and managing director for WarnerMedia’s entertainment networks in South Asia.
WarnerMedia International is planning for a resurgence to the South Asian market through launching their own streaming service named HBO Max. But for the time being, they will be offering their content through Disney’s streaming platform. They have also declared that their entertainment organization will continue its broadcasting in popular kids channels like Cartoon Network, POGO e.t.c in the South Asian region. They are planning to invest more in this stream, with a focus on local animation production.
For Gen Z Indians, HBO has always been a part of their childhood. They were introduced to the world of Hollywood movies through the channel. Though the newly introduced OTT platforms provide great contents, for most of the Indians who grew up watching the likes of Harry Potter, Home Alone series, e.t.c, the shutdown of HBO will be considered as a great loss.