WarnerMedia shakes up film, streaming and TV, creates new international unit

Studio head Ann Sarnoff and HBO programmer Casey Bloys promoted as restructure ‘elevates’ HBO Max

By John Hazelton 12 Aug 2020

WarnerMedia shakes up film, streaming and TV, creates new international unit
Ann Sarnoff

In a massive shake-up initiated by new CEO Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia is restructuring its film and TV operations, promoting Warner Bros head Ann Sarnoff and HBO programming chief Casey Bloys, expanding the scope of streaming service HBO Max globally and creating a consolidated international unit. 

Leaving the company in the shake-up are Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer, and Kevin Reilly, chief content officer for HBO Max and president of TNT, TBS and TruTV. 

Sarnoff, named chair and CEO of Warner Bros just over a year ago, will now oversee all film and TV series development, production and programming, leading a new Studios and Networks Group combining the original production and programming activities previously spread across Warner Bros, HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS and TruTV.  

Reporting to Sarnoff, HBO programming president Bloys will take on original content responsibilities for HBO Max and TNT, TBS and TruTV. 

On the international side, Gerhard Zeiler, currently WarnerMedia’s chief revenue officer, will head a newly integrated international group comprising the international operations of Warner Bros, HBO and Turner Networks and overseeing regional programming for HBO Max. 

Meanwhile Andy Forssell, general manager of HBO Max, will lead a newly created HBO Max operating unit reporting to Kilar, with responsibility for the product, marketing, consumer engagement and global rollout of the streamer.  

In a memo to WarnerMedia staff, Kilar said that the company is “elevating HBO Max in the organisation and expanding its scope globally,” though WarnerMedia representatives did not expand on that statement. 

The streaming service launched in the US in May and WarnerMedia has previously said it would launch a localised version in Latin America in 2021 and expand into parts of Europe sometime after that. 

Greenblatt, who joined WarnerMedia 17 months ago, and Reilly, who took the first of his jobs at Warner nearly six years ago, have been high profile figures in the run-up to the HBO Max launch under WarnerMedia owner AT&T. 

In its most recent earnings report, AT&T said HBO Max got 4.1m subscribers in its first month in the US. The company is hoping to reach 50m subscribers for HBO Max and HBO combined by 2025.

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