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ATF: WarnerMedia Doubling up on Asian Original Content

Variety — Naman Ramachandran

WarnerMedia is “doubling up” on local original content, catering to the Asian audiences’ hunger for it, says Giorgio Stock, Warner’s new chief in Asia.

President of WarnerMedia entertainment networks distribution and advertising sales, EMEA and APAC spoke in Singapore on Tuesday Stock was delivering a keynote speech at the Asia TV Forum & Market. It was held in conversation with Rob Gilby, former Disney executive, and founder and CEO Blue Hat Ventures.

“If you look at HBO, clearly it is about original content as well, we’ve doubled the slate for HBO original content in this region,” Stock said. He said that in addition to the five HBO Asia original shows that aired this year, seven more have been greenlit, with at least two more in the pipeline.

Stock talked up six-part Singaporean drama “Invisible Stories”, two episodes of which aired at the recently concluded Singapore International Film Festival and will bow on various HBO platforms in January.

“Our brands have presence here, so we have very fertile grounds on which to build,” said Stock. “The dynamics of this marketplace is quite amazing. I’ve seen how fast how these markets move and how different these markets are. It’s not one Asia, obviously, we’re talking about different markets, cultures, languages, business models. But across the board I’ve seen a spirit of enterprise, and youth in terms of demographics, a propensity to use technology, and an inspiration for a better tomorrow.”

Covering 42 countries in 14 languages, WarnerMedia’s Asia Pacific brands include Warner TV, Oh!K, Mondo TV, Mondo Mah-Jong TV, TABI Channel, Tabi Tele, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, POGO and Tuzki together with HBO, HBO Signature, HBO Family, HBO Hits, Cinemax and Red as well as the OTT service HBO GO, and two SVOD services HBO On Demand and Ding Ji Ju Chang, and the company also distributes CNN International, HLN and BabyFirst in the territory.

While acknowledging that streaming is the current growth area, Stock cautioned against undermining linear media that still caters to millions of audience members. He likened linear media as a ‘melting iceberg’ rather than a ‘melting ice cube’ and that WarnerMedia would continue to serve that audience.

Stock also revealed that WarnerMedia is producing five new animated series in 2020. “India will probably be the one priority market in that space,” Stock said. “We are open for business and we are very excited about any propositions and pitches that come our way. We take one out of every 50 ideas we see, so there is a competitive environment. We are open for more.”

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