Jason Killer, the current CEO of WarnerMedia, has admitted that he is disappointed that he will probably step down within a year.
AT&T is in the midst of merging WarnerMedia with Discovery, a deal expected to close in mid-2022. Killer told staff he would be at WarnerMedia at least until early 2022.
Killer, speaking at the Vox Media Code conference, said WarnerMedia’s chief executive job “goes away when the transaction is closed.” Asked if he was disappointed he wouldn’t get a chance to lead the media team, Killer replied, “I’m human, so in that context, yes.”
Killer, the former CEO of Hulu, said he led WarnerMedia last year and a half and achieved the most professional fulfillment of his career. “I would love to continue this adventure for another 10 or 20 years,” he admitted. “But the corporate world doesn’t work that way.”
Until the transaction closes, Killer said he will continue to work to “set up WarnerMedia for the next hundred years.”
Killer was interviewed at a code conference by MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhl, who questioned her about the WarnerMedia response she received from Hollywood talent, announcing that it would release its full 2021 movie slate day-to-date on HBO Max and theaters.
“We tried to do the right thing in terms of communication,” Killer said, but “insights, we should take a good month to have 170 conversations.”
The industry is at the top when it comes to investing in streaming, Killer said, adding that “it is probably unstable” for some players to continue to make money in their business at existing levels. That means a jolt will come, he said. “There will be a number of services that you care about on a daily basis,” he said.
WarnerMedia will spend “in response to ১ 1 billion” on content in all areas of the business, both in 2021 and 2022, Killer said, adding that Netflix expects to spend $ 1 billion on content next year. In addition to WarnerMedia, Killer has cited Netflix and Disney for succeeding in the live-to-consumer streaming business. Meanwhile, for Amazon, entertainment is “not a hobby,” he added.
Killer also gave props to a powerful bench of Warnermedia executives, including Cassie Blaise, HBO and HBO Max chief programmer and Channing Dungi, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Television Studios. “These are people who have respected their craft for decades,” Killer said. “We can be a team that welcomes them … and obviously the storytellers decide to work with them.”
As of the end of June 2021, HBO Max and HBO subscribers had a total of 47.0 million subscribers in the United States, with 2.85 million pickups (and 10.7 million year after year, respectively). Worldwide, HBO and HBO Max had 67.5 million subscribers at the end of Q2, an increase of 12 million over the previous year.
AT&T expects HBO’s Amazon Prime video channel, which had about 5 million subs, to hit its third domestic HBO / HBO Max sub base in the third quarter on September 15. But it reiterates the previous guidelines for million-million global HBO Max and HBO subscribers by the end of 2021. And with a European launch in six countries in October, according to AT&T.