Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), the multinational media and entertainment giant, has announced it will launch its Max direct-to-consumer streaming service across Europe in the first half of 2024.

During a keynote speech at the trade show Mipcom in Cannes, France, WBD International president Gerhard Zeiler said more than 20 countries across Europe would be offered Max, with the initial rollout to include the Nordics, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Central and Eastern Europe.

A “second wave” later in 2024 will see the service launched in other parts of Europe, including France and Belgium, while key Asian-Pacific markets will also likely gain access next year.

There was no mention of the service launching in the UK, Italy, or Germany, where HBO has long-term content deals in place with pay-TV broadcaster Sky.

Leah Hooper Rosa, WBD’s senior vice president and head of streaming for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, added that the European service will stream live sport via WBD’s pan-European sports broadcaster Eurosport.

Eurosport’s portfolio of rights includes the Paris 2024 Olympics, tennis’ Australia Open and French Open grand slams, FIS World Cup skiing, cycling's Tour de France, La Vuelta, and Giro d’Italia, and motor racing’s Formula E and Le Mans 24 hours.

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WBD first launched Max in the US earlier this year, combining the content of both HBO and Discovery+ into a single service. A rollout in Latin America is planned for later this year, meanwhile.

The company then added a sports tier to the platform last month which simulcasts live sports events that have been available only on the company’s traditional linear networks TNT and TBS, including baseball’s Major League Baseball, ice hockey’s NHL, basketball’s NBA, college basketball’s March Madness, motor racing’s annual 24 Hours of Le Mans, and games involving the US national men’s and women’s soccer teams.

During his speech, Zeiler said the company is looking to balance third-party sales with linear and over-the-top customers to widen its reach.

Zeiler talked up linear broadcasting, describing the business and streaming as “two sides of the same coin,” adding that decisions about “programming investments, marketing, windowing, and promotion” are made with both “linear and streaming [teams] together.”

He added: “Streaming is the future of our business, no doubt, but there is no reason to abandon linear yet – and the consumer doesn’t want us to do that either.”

WBD has been trying to balance moving its portfolio into the digital world without harming its existing linear viewership and revenue streams as audiences continue to ‘cut the cord’ in favor of streaming platforms.

Adding the sports tier to its US platform is seen by WBD as the best way to fend off any impact on its legacy business while attracting new customers and gaining new profits from streaming. The media giant has employed a similar tactic in the UK, by adding its TNT Sports proposition to a standard Discovery+ subscription.

The media giant lost 1.8 million streaming subscribers between April and June, with current customers standing at 95.8 million. However, the drop was expected as 4 million customers were signed up to both Discovery+ and HBO Max, with many dropping one subscription in favor of the combined package.