Next year will see the launch of two major international streaming services across Central and Eastern Europe.
Following an announcement earlier this week, we now know that WarnerMedia’s HBO Max will shortly start its long-awaited European rollout, going live in the Nordics, Spain and Andorra on October 26. It will then make its debut at some stage in 2022 in 14 more European markets, at least 13 of which will be in CEE. The latter will include Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and all the countries that made up the former Yugoslavia.
Also now expected in CEE in 2022 is Disney+, with the service’s delay – it was originally due to launch this year – being primarily to allow for an expanded footprint that will also cover parts of the Middle East and South Africa.
HBO Max and Disney+ will enter a CEE marketplace that is changing very rapidly. Netflix has been present in the region since early 2016 and is firmly established, being the most popular service in several countries, including Poland. Meanwhile discovery+, though still a relative newcomer, has recently launched in the Baltics thanks to agreements with such parties as Megogo and TV3 Group, and NENT Group’s Viaplay has made its debut in Poland and the Baltics in the last few months.
On a local level, the future of Discovery’s operations in Poland, which include TVN’s on-demand service Player, is still very much up in the air due to the so-called “Lex TVN’ that could see the US company being forced to exit the country. However, it is likely to be resolved long before the expected completion of the WarnerMedia-Discovery deal in mid-2022 and its possible implications for Player, discovery+ and HBO Max.
This time next year, the streaming market in CEE is likely to be even more vibrant than it is at present.
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