Casey Bloys, the chief content officer for HBO and HBO Max, has defended the controversial decision to remove Westworld from the streaming service.
Shortly after the cancellation of the science-fiction Western, it was revealed that the show would be completely withdrawn from HBO Max and made available on Roku and Tubi for free with ads.
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Casey Bloys Defends HBO Decision To Cancel Westworld
Bloys reveals the explanation behind Westworld's removal from HBO Max in a recent interview with Variety, noting that Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy were briefed prior to the decision.
Ultimately, the show's withdrawal is part of a bigger effort by WarnerMedia and HBO to recruit new fans as the streaming landscape continues to grow significantly.
"I think people sometimes forget there is a vast majority of the population that don't want to pay anything for a streaming service, not only here, but internationally," Boys said.
"I have no idea if FAST is going to be a huge business. But I do know that some people don't want to pay and are OK with getting ads. And that's a potentially very big audience and a new audience for a show. So that's something we're trying."
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HBO Max Content Gets Rattled
In recent months, HBO Max's leadership has generated significant controversy for a variety of business-related choices, the majority of which derive from the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery+ in 2018.
A number of extreme cost-cutting measures were implemented after the merger, the most notable of which was the scrapping of the Batgirl film starring Leslie Grace and Brendan Fraser. Warner Bros. Discovery cancelled the film, which had already been shot and cost $90 million to produce, as a tax write-off.
Not long after the controversial termination of Batgirl, it was revealed that a number of additional shows and movies, including Westworld and Raised by Wolves, would be cancelled and/or deleted from HBO Max.
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The decision to withdraw and cancel so many movies and television programs was part of the company's bigger "post-merger restructuring efforts", which were principally motivated by a desire to decrease costs following years of excessive spending.
As part of a ground-breaking new agreement with Roku and Tubi, Westworld will be licensed to free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels.