WarnerMedia ousts top streaming executives as part of restructuring

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(Reuters) – WarnerMedia’s Bob Greenblatt and Kevin Reilly, executives who oversaw its HBO Max streaming business, will leave as part of a restructuring, the company said on Friday.

This is the first major action taken by Chief Executive Officer Jason Kilar, a former Amazon.com (O:AMZN) executive, who built Hulu.

“We are elevating HBO Max in the organization and expanding its scope globally,” Kilar said in a mail to staff.

Andy Forssell, general manager of HBO Max, will now head a newly created HBO Max operating business unit, Kilar added.

Parent AT&T Inc (N:T) hired Kilar to take charge at WarnerMedia as it battles with Netflix (O:NFLX) and Walt Disney ‘s (N:DIS) Disney+ for streaming video customers.

The wireless carrier, which has invested heavily to transform itself into a media and telecommunications conglomerate, reported 36 million subscribers for both its premium TV channel HBO and HBO Max in the second quarter.

Disney+, which launched in November last year, had 60.5 million paying customers as of Monday.

Media companies have been hard hit by severe drops in ad sales as marketers reel in spending due to the global coronavirus outbreak. The pandemic has also halted production of originals, starving streaming services with new content needed to fuel subscriptions.

Revenue from WarnerMedia segment, which includes HBO, fell 22.7% to $6.8 billion in the second quarter, with the pandemic having a $1.5 billion impact on sales.

WarnerMedia also said on Friday it would cut jobs, without disclosing the number of employees impacted.

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