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[Interview] How Samsung and HBO Are Bringing Viewers Premium Content and Upgraded User Experiences


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Now more than ever, streaming has developed to be at the core of home entertainment. New streaming platforms are continuously being released and the industry’s growth is accelerating faster than ever before as more and more people are enjoying their favorite TV shows, movies and more from the comfort of their own homes.

 

Powered by the Tizen OS, Samsung Electronics’ TV lineup provides users with a central hub for seamless streaming experiences. Along with Samsung’s cutting-edge picture quality, state-of-the-art sound and user-friendly OS, the company’s partnerships with leading content providers such as HBO are bringing users’ at-home streaming experiences to the next level.

 

In order to learn more, Samsung Newsroom sat down with Jennifer Mirgorod, Head of Partner Management and Marketing for WarnerMedia, to hear about the state of streaming, the future of the industry and how HBO’s partnership with Samsung is bringing users a truly premium experience.

 

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Q: Please introduce yourself and your role at WarnerMedia.

 

A: As head of partnership management and partner marketing, I’m responsible for the distribution and marketing of WarnerMedia’s streaming services including HBO Max, its transactional video business and the linear television networks. I lead the team managing our multichannel video programming distributor partners in North America as well as our global platform partnerships, including with Samsung.

 

 

Q: Streaming services have seen massive growth over the last year. What are some notable trends the industry has seen over the past year?

 

A: Since my career in media began more than 25 years ago, I’ve witnessed the entirety of the streaming industry’s lifespan. We’ve seen massive increase in its popularity over the years and the global over-the-top services market size is projected to reach $86.8 billion by 2026.1

 

As more streaming platforms emerge, content is so critically important to any platform. This trend, then, has been of rising importance for ensuring that the most iconic titles – from Warner Bros. and across our entire portfolio – live on HBO Max. The relative scarcity of premium content in our industry has made owning franchises like Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and the DC Universe, among others, has been an incredibly powerful differentiator for WarnerMedia.

 

 

Q: With more consumers “cord cutting” and moving to OTT services, how do you see the market for premium content playing out over the next decade?

 

A: The past few years have been described as the era of “peak TV”, with hundreds of new television series being released each year, and one thing has remained clear: consumers crave premium content. It’s premium stories that make their way into the zeitgeist and resonate with large audiences, regardless of the platform on which they premiere. HBO has long been the home for exactly that type of content and, with HBO Max, we fully expect to build on that.

 

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Q: What changes has HBO made to its platform to promote growth and provide subscribers new experiences?

 

A: There are quite a few things we’ve done both to the product itself as well as our approach to provide the best possible experience to our customers.

 

Throughout HBO Max’s first year, our product team has focused on evolving the app by adding new features to ensure that the platform provides a premium experience that is fitting for the premium content it houses. That means adding new personalization features including “For You” trays, age-targeted kid profiles, improved design, improved content details pages, accessibility features and others. We also took a bold step late last year and decided to release our 2021 Warner Bros. theatrical slate in theaters and on HBO Max on the same day, giving customers the ultimate choice on how they wanted to consume content, which proved to be a solid strategy.

 

Our tech team is also working hard to deliver the best viewing experiences which includes support for HDR10 and 4K streaming. As we regularly update and release new content via HBO Max, you’ll see more and more content available in these formats.

 

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Q: What have been some of the biggest benefits of HBO Max being available on Samsung Smart TVs?

 

A: There have been plenty of benefits we’ve found in partnering with Samsung and leaning into Tizen’s distinct operating system. Thanks to Tizen OS, Samsung’s TV and projectors allow us to take HBO Max into many different large-format surfaces and enable high-quality as well as varied interactions with users.

 

It also offers an integrated, streamlined experience for users for more enjoyable viewing. The HBO Max app will be featured on the launch bar for 2021 and 2022 televisions for convenient access, and we’re leveraging the strength of Tizen’s Universal Guide feature in those regions where it’s available. We have also deepened our integration of HBO Max content into Tizen’s search functionality to provide a more seamless experience for customers from start to finish.

 

 

Q: Is there anything you can share on the HBO Max roadmap that, along with Samsung’s Smart TVs, will help provide consumers with more valuable experiences?

 

A: Samsung is a valued partner of ours and we’re looking forward to building on a solid foundation we’ve built together since the launch of HBO Max. Samsung customers can expect key updates to the app experience in the coming weeks including the addition of 4K, Dolby Atmos and 5.1 audio. Also on the roadmap are enhanced functionality with Bixby, as well as the addition of ‘Continue Watching’ and ‘Personalized Preview’ features that will help to create an even more seamless and customized viewing experience.

 

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Q: Lastly, are there any exciting movies and shows that HBO Max subscribers can look forward to later this year?

 

A: Absolutely. We are excited about a number of new series and movies set for release throughout the second half of this year and plans for expansion into new markets.

 

Our team is excited about the recently launched Gossip Girl series reboot, as well as the original film No Sudden Move, plus new Max originals The Sex Lives of College Girls from Mindy Kaling and the next chapter of Sex and the City called And Just Like That. There’s also the return of HBO-favorites including Succession, Insecure and Curb Your Enthusiasm. On the movie front, new Warner Bros. theatrical releases have been and will be released on the platform on the same days as theaters with titles including Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, The Many Saints of Newark and Dune, among others.

 

 

1 Over the Top (OTT) Services Market Latest Industry Trends, Size, Share, Statistics, Applications and Competition Strategies by 2028, Fortune Business Insights

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