WarnerMedia restructures business functions across SEA

WarnerMedia International has restructured its organisation for its Southeast Asia, India, and Korea markets. The company will be uniting WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks, which comprises Turner and HBO businesses, and Warner Bros., which comprises its theatrical distribution, TV syndication, home entertainment as well as consumer products, gaming and location-based entertainment.

The unification of the two subsidiaries will retain the name “WarnerMedia”, and is said to be an integrated entertainment media operation in the region. The merged entity will include its TV brands (HBO, Cartoon Network and CNN), the HBO GO streaming service, and Warner Bros. franchises such as Looney Tunes and the entire DC universe.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands the new structure was created to provide enhanced scale, combined marketing resources both internally within WarnerMedia and externally for clients. It also allows the new-look organisation to be better aligned with marketing and promotional efforts to create an even bigger impact.

The unification of its businesses will mean that WarnerMedia can have one conversation with advertisers who may be interested in a bigger, more integrated campaign. The company can now provide solutions that span across its different brands and platforms, and include parts of the business from theatrical to consumer products, original content production and games. Some of the advertisers the brand is currently working with include Prudential, Unilever, and Philippines and Hong Kong tourism boards, to name a few.

WarnerMedia has also restructured its leadership teams for the region. The new entity will be led by Clement Schwebig, head of WarnerMedia for India, Southeast Asia and Korea. Schwebig has been promoted from managing director Southeast Asia, ANZ and China, WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks. With the new organisation structure, Siddharth Jain, SVP and MD South Asia, and Jessica Kam, SVP of original productions, entertainment, will also be exiting the company.

Moving forward, WarnerMedia’s marketing efforts will be led by Athreyan Sundararajan, who joined the company earlier this year as vice president, marketing and brand services, Southeast Asia Pacific. Sundararajan will lead an integrated group marketing team across all WarnerMedia businesses, including advertising and distribution sales trade, consumer and brand as well as theatrical. Creative Services and Social Media will also report into him.

Meanwhile, Vikram Sharma will oversee ad sales across the business. He takes charge of consumer products, advertising and partnerships, leading both the licensing and merchandising business for all WarnerMedia IP, brands and franchises, as well as the advertising sales business for all WarnerMedia brands on all platforms linear and digital.

Although it is too early to go into specific details about the direction of the new marketing team, MARKETING-INTERACTIVE understands that WarnerMedia has an “ambitious plan” to bring its marketing together under a “one WarnerMedia” umbrella. With the unification, the team will be able to leverage all of its brands, IP and content across all its different functions for the first time.

New business lines and functions

The reorganised WarnerMedia now comprises five lines of businesses: affiliate and B2B distribution (for all WarnerMedia linear TV networks); HBO GO; TV distribution and home entertainment; consumer products, advertising and partnerships; and theatrical distribution.

While Sharma leads the consumer products, advertising and partnerships business line, WarnerMedia has appointed Yasmin Zahid to lead affiliate and B2B distribution for all WarnerMedia linear TV networks. This includes HBO channels, CNN International, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, POGO, Warner TV and Oh!K, as well as lead B2B carriage partnerships for the HBO GO streaming service.

Meanwhile, David Simonsen will continue to lead the development of HBO GO in Southeast Asia, working closely with Johannes Larcher’s global HBO Max team to lay the foundation for its future launch, and Jae Chang will head up TV Distribution and Home Entertainment overseeing all physical and digital distribution licensing for all WarnerMedia content in the region. The company is currently searching for a new lead for its theatrical distribution. Meanwhile, all country managing directors will report directly into Schwebig.

WarnerMedia has also split its business into four different functions: group marketing, entertainment, strategy and operations, and kids brands.

Besides Sundararajan, who has been appointed to head group marketing, WarnerMedia has also appointed Magdalene Ew to take charge of its consolidated entertainment pillar, including all HBO channels, Warner TV and Oh!K as well as its Ding Ji Theatre in China. She will also oversee all Entertainment original productions in the region, including HBO Asia Originals.

Meanwhile, Shonali Bedi has been appointed to head up strategy and operations, which includes all transformation initiatives in the region and also takes on expanded responsibilities for research and insights. Leslie Lee will continue to lead all the Kids brands for WarnerMedia across Asia Pacific, including India, Southeast Asia and Korea.

Schwebig said: “We’ve put in place a unique organisational structure for growth that is designed to sharpen our focus on the consumer and build stronger relationships with our local partners. Integrating our commercial activities, content and marketing functions will enable us to leverage our enhanced scale and bigger footprint of consumer touchpoints across our varied businesses, brands, franchises and platforms.”

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