Later this year, the premium streaming service will compete in the region against Netflix and Disney+.
In preparation for the launch of HBO Max in Asia later this year, WarnerMedia has announced three senior content hires in Asia to enhance its original production teams. Former Iflix executive Mark Francis has been named group lead of production and development for scripted and unscripted content at the company’s regional headquarters in Singapore, and Wee Shi Ming, formerly of Sony Pictures Television Networks, has been named lead of entertainment content acquisition for North Asia content. Both will report to WarnerMedia’s Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong chief of content, Magdalene Ew.
Saugata Mukherjee, a former Disney executive, has joined WarnerMedia India as head of content. Like Ew, the newly established position reports to Clement Schwebig, the company’s MD for India, Southeast Asia, and Korea. In a statement, Schwebig added, “These are critical responsibilities as we strive to grow up our original content and programming goals in this region.” “Saugata, Mark, and Shi Ming have an excellent vision for a winning idea and remarkable industry connections. We’re in terrific shape to delight local viewers with a well-rounded and premium slate now that they’ve all been put in place over the last few months.”
Francis, who formerly served as the head of OTT content at Astro and as the chief content officer at iflix, will manage a regional team to generate Asian original projects under the “Max Originals” label. Wee Shi Ming joined the content acquisition team in late 2021 and will be responsible for procuring titles from Japan, Korea, China, and Anime for the streamer. Wee was previously the head of acquisition and programming for Asian content at Viu and Sony Pictures Television Networks. Wee now reports to Ew alongside Katheryn Lim, who is in charge of content acquisition for international and English-language entertainment properties.
Mukherjee joined the company in late 2021 and is in charge of procuring local originals as well as acquiring and developing Indian content across all genres of general entertainment. The latest hires come on the heels of recent WarnerMedia personnel changes as the company prepares to fight with Netflix and Disney+ for subscribers in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region. Audrey Wee was named the physical production lead for WarnerMedia’s growing line-up of regional entertainment content in Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Hong Kong in September 2021. May-Yi Lee was named the region’s lead of development and production for unscripted in July.