HBO Streaming Now, Too
Netflix, Hulu, and VUDU are the big names in internet video streaming as everyone already knows, but competition has been aggressive in trying to move into the streaming market to Smart TVs as we have discussed previously – established program distribution networks like Dish and Verizon and content creators like Sony and stand-alone internet companies like Amazon. Traditionally, content creators have been signing deals with established or establishing streaming services like Netflix or Amazon to provide its programming for an agreed-upon payment structure. While Sony does produce some of its own content, that TV and movie production is a part of a much larger company. Generally, independent content creators don’t want to jeopardize existing relationships or opportunities to tap into large audience opportunities with Netflix, VUDU, etc. by striking out on its own and streaming through its own system or network, but one major content creator is getting into the business for itself and testing the waters.
HBO is launching its own streaming service for its programming, despite the fact that it already has an existing deal with Amazon to distribute through Amazon Prime. This seems strange, but HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler had an answer.
“’I don’t think it competes at all,’ Plepler said. ‘The most important thing to remember about our Amazon decision is its three-year-old window library and what we basically decided is somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 or 70 percent of Amazon Prime subscribers do not get HBO. So we thought this was a terrific opportunity to not only monetize some of our library, but to give some of that consumer base an opportunity to sample and taste some of the best HBO programming.’
Plepler hopes that the content HBO is licensing to Amazon Prime helps bringing consumers ‘back into [our] system, so that they can become full subs.’ He highlighted that HBO ‘grew this year more than any time in 30 years’ and that the move by HBO to license its content to Amazon will help it in gaining more viewership.”
“Plepler said the decision to sell a standalone HBO service (“over the top” in industry parlance) came from research that determined there are between 10 and 15 million homes that are not in the pay-TV ecosystem, but could be “persuadable” to subscribe to HBO.
‘It begged a couple of very simple questions, which we posed to our research team. How many undecided voters are there out there? How many people like the brand, but perhaps don’t know the full value of the brand?’ Plepler said. ‘The data is unequivocal, people want the brand.’”