Showtime Snaps Up HBO Max, Disney or Paramount and Comcast

Paramount Global/Comcast JV SkyShowtime has snapped up an HBO Max and Walt Disney exec to lead on strategy and legal.

Roberto Soto, HBO Max Senior Vice President and Head of Growth Marketing for EMEA, joins as Chief Strategy Officer for the soon-to-launch platform, which will roll out to 22 smaller territories and a potential 90M homes in Europe later this year that arent getting Paramount+ or Comcast-owned Peacock.

Soto led marketing, PR and strategy on HBO Maxs roll-out in Iberia, the Nordics, Netherlands, Poland, and Central and Eastern Europe, territories that HBO Max has since pulled commissioners and shows away from. Past employers include Paramount Global, Fox International Channels and Liberty Global.

Meanwhile, John Heinemann, Disney Associate Principal Counsel for Nordics, Baltics and MENA, becomes General Counsel of SkyShowtime and will serve as chief legal officer and strategic advisor to the leadership team and board. During his stint with the Mouse House, he negotiated multi-year agreements for Disney+ around the world.

Both will repot into SkyShowtime CEO Monty Sarhan, who praised Sotos diverse experience across entertainment and sports streaming services, including multiple launches throughout Europe and said Heinemann brings formidable legal skills, business acumen and a strategic mindset.

Former BBC Studios Head of Programming John Farrar was recently unveiled as Head of Programming for the streamer that will combine the catalogs of Paramount and Comcast in the 22 territories.

Job Cuts Expected At HBO Max Europe Following Major Strategic Review

Job cuts are expected at HBO Max Europe following a major strategic review that will see development of local originals halted in the Nordics and Central Europe.

The move comes as the Warner Bros. Discovery merger gathers pace and the outfit seeks £3B worth of savings within two years, with HBO Max set to be combined with Discovery+.

topplaywriting understands jobs at HBO Max Europe are at risk following the review, which will also see nascent development activities in the Netherlands and Turkey halted after less than a year. The details regarding potential redundancies are still being ironed out. Job cuts had been anticipated post-merger and topplaywriting trailed them in our international preview piece several months back. Shows in production or post-production in the Nordics, Central Europe and the Netherlands are being reviewed. Hits to have already emerged from the region include the likes of Denmarks Kamikaze (pictured) and Swedens Lust.

Of the territories in which HBO Max has a footprint, only Spain and France are not impacted by the review.

As we continue to work on combining HBO Max and discovery+ into one global streaming service showcasing the breadth of content across Warner Bros. Discovery, we are reviewing our current content proposition on the existing services, said an HBO Max statement.

Our commitment to these markets has not changed. We will continue to commission local content for Warner Bros. Discoverys linear networks in these regions and we remain substantial acquirers of local third-party content for use on our streaming services.

The review comes around three months after the HBO Max Europe commissioning team was unveiled at Series Mania, with each commissioner in turn speaking publicly about their content desires.

Since then, WarnerMedias Priya Dogra has been promoted to President & MD EMEA (exc. Poland), while Antony Root has continued to oversee original production for HBO Max across EMEA, with Christina Sulebakk shifting to Warner Bros. Discovery General Manager, Nordics.

Under Root is Iberia Commissioning Editor of Original Programming Miguel Salvat, Nordics Commissioning Editor and VP Original Programming Christian Wikander, France VP and commissioning Editor of Original Production Vera Peltekian, Central Europe Commissioning Editor Johnathan Young and Turkey Executive Director of Content Acquisition Mia Edde. Annelies Sitvast, Hanka Kastelicová and Steve Matthews work in pan-European roles.