HBO Max Content Boss Antony Root has set out his team’s stall to “broaden the appeal” of the streamer “beyond the die hard Euphoria fan.”
Speaking alongside his European commissioning and production chiefs at Series Mania, Root said the international team is looking to attract new subs to the platform who “might not otherwise have thought to subscribe” by commissioning “fresh” content and pushing into new genres such as competition formats and adventure shows.
His four pillars are “local first,” “broad appeal,” “distinctive storytelling” and “diverse slate.”
Root and his production team pointed to upcoming shows from new voices such as Spain’s Garcia from Sara Antuña and Carlos de Pando and Sweden’s Lust co-created by three established actresses.
“We want to broaden the appeal of what we do in local original programming beyond the die hard Euphoria fan,” he explained.
Root positioned the team as “very much open for business” and said budgets will be “at different price points, not always at super high drama level.”
He also cited the “huge” increase in local acquisitions as another subscription driver.
HBO Max rolled out to 15 more European territories earlier this month and is already available in many others, although not Root’s home country of the UK due to an existing deal with Sky.
Vera Peltekian, France VP and Commissioning Editor of Original Production, the newest member of the team, is yet to commission a show but said she wants to “challenge preconceived ideas” in genres such as comedy for an educated younger audience.
“It’s not only shows that make you laugh but we want to talk about social issues and explore emotions,” she added. “In France you have many cop shows, for example, so it’s not a priority to add another cop show but we instead want to look at re-shaping dramedy, comedy or romcom.”
Series Mania $1M Investment
Alongside Laurence Herszberg, Founder and General Director of Series Mania, and Pierre Ziemniak, Project Manager of the Series Mania Institute, Root also unveiled a $1M investment in the festival’s Institute over the next three years.
Launched last year, the Institute is devoted entirely to training European TV professionals and HBO Max joins Newen, France Télévisions, and Entreprises et Cités as one of its founding partners.
“Since its creation, our mission with the Series Mania Institute has been to be the incubator for creating new talent and developing an impressive European network, while reinforcing the training of these professionals,” said Herszberg. “Now, thanks to HBO Max and their generous funding, along with all of our partners, we are well positioned to devote the necessary training to these new talents who will create the European series of tomorrow.”
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