Warner Bros. Discovery Intl President Gerhard Zeiler Sets Out Post-Merger Strategy, Commits to Local Content

Warner Bros. Discovery Intl President Gerhard Zeiler has set out the company’s post-merger strategy, re-iterating his belief in cinema as well as his commitment to “local stories,” despite the fact that HBO Max recently halted local original programming across a number of European territories, including in the Nordics, Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey.

“If you want to be a global player, you have to have relevant local stories,” Zeiler said at the Royal Television Society’s (RTS) annual convention in London on Tuesday morning. “I mean don’t misunderstand me, the big kids will always be the Batmans, the Elvises, the Black Adams, which premieres next month here in the U.K.” He also pointed out that WBD invests in local films, citing productions in Japan and Germany, as well as streaming content.

And while saying that WBD’s current partnership with Sky in the U.K. is working well, he said WBD is planning to introduce its own streaming platform in the territory. “We probably also want to have a streaming service in the U.K.,” he said.

“Global subs aren’t the only KPI any more, it’s also about revenue, it’s about the path to profitability.”

Speaking of the future of cinema, Zeiler said: “First of all, everyone who ever believed that the theatrical business – that the cinema – is dead has been proven wrong so many times, and also will be proven wrong in the future […] the theatrical business is here to stay and that’s good.”

Discussing theatrical and streamer strategy, he added: “We don’t believe it makes sense to put all the content we have into one window. We don’t believe it’s what the consumer wants and no one truly believes that this is a good business case. We are not a one trick pony. We believe in the breadth of our distribution strategy.”