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AT&T and Warner Media Leadership Outline Changes Coming to HBO Over the Next Year

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On June 19, former AT&T executive and new chief executive of Warner Media John Stankey spoke to a group of HBO employees about changes coming to the premium cable company in the near future. The discussion was held in the wake of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, which owns HBO, and also included HBO's chief executive officer Richard Plepler.

The telecommunications company previously stated that it would take a "hands-off approach" to running HBO, but The New York Times this weekend reported on Stankey's speech and it sounds like that might not be the case. According to a video of the discussion, Stankey explained Warner Media's intent to align HBO more alongside streaming companies like Netflix in order to increase its subscriber base, although he refrained from referencing Netflix by name.


This means creating more content that releases at a faster pace, in comparison to HBO's current stable of limited Sunday night-focused shows. According to Stankey, the goal is to increase the hours per day viewers watch HBO, which is currently less than rivals like Netflix and Hulu because of HBO's smaller catalog.
"We need hours a day," Mr. Stankey said, referring to the time viewers spend watching HBO programs. "It's not hours a week, and it's not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people's hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes."
Continuing this thread, Stankey specifically stated that more hours of user engagement means that Warner Media can "get more data and information" to monetize through advertisements and new subscription options.
"I want more hours of engagement. Why are more hours of engagement important? Because you get more data and information about a customer that then allows you to do things like monetize through alternate models of advertising as well as subscriptions, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow's world."
As the discussion continued, Stankey appeared to have butted heads slightly with Plepler on the topic of HBO's monetization, which Stankey believes can be increased through his new methods. Plepler claimed that the company is already a consistent moneymaker, to which Stankey responded: "Yes, yes you do... Just not enough."

Stankey and Warner Media hope that an increased output of original content will boost HBO's 40 million paid subscribers in the United States, which Stankey said as of now "was not going to cut it." Comparatively, Netflix earlier this year had 55 million U.S. subscribers and Hulu in May had 20 million.

HBO's business currently expands across paid cable add-on packages, the connected HBO GO app, and standalone HBO NOW app. Stankey said that Warner Media's plans will kick off soon and "there's going to be more work" for HBO employees over the next twelve months, which he called a "dog year."

While Apple wasn't mentioned in the discussion, the Cupertino company is another upcoming competitor in the streaming TV market, with plans to debut more than a dozen television shows beginning sometime in 2019. Although the distribution of these shows remains unclear, the company is rumored to be planning a bundle with original TV content, Apple Music, and more.

Article Link: AT&T and Warner Media Leadership Outline Changes Coming to HBO Over the Next Year
 

iLilana

macrumors 6502a
May 5, 2003
768
261
Alberta, Canada
This is the point HBO is going to be run by wall street oligarchs. It may as well have been taken over by EA. Sure it will keep going but content will begin to suck consistently. John Oliver will for sure be cancelled. and most importantly AT&T became Delos by saying "I want more hours of engagement. Why are more hours of engagement important? Because you get more data and information about a customer that then allows you to do things like monetize through alternate models of advertising as well as subscriptions, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow's world."
 

nburwell

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May 6, 2008
4,908
1,814
DE
While I will take a wait a see approach with my HBO Now subscription, I really don't like the sounds of this article. As @redscull mentioned, HBO is supplemental to Netflix. I would have no issue ultimately canceling my HBO Now subscription since my wife and I would be just fine with Netflix and Hulu. Yes, we would miss out on HBO's original programming, but who know what AT&T has in store.
 
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b11051973

macrumors 6502
Apr 8, 2006
358
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HBO currently shows mostly content it doesn't own. How much longer will they be able to do this? Disney is pulling their content for their own streaming service. Will other studios be doing the same? Could be HBO has to start making more content. Otherwise it will only have a handful of shows on repeat 24x7.

It also seems their current plan is based on people watching stuff live, or at least through the DVR. Will they start making content that never airs and is only streaming?
 
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rjohnstone

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Dec 28, 2007
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It has a good balance between movies and original content already. More original content will not get me to watch it more.
I guess they'll have to find out the hard (and expensive) way.

I get it free as it is (AT&T wireless customer), so I can ignore it financially, if it gets crappy show.
[doublepost=1531152116][/doublepost]
They better not cut the cord on HBO boxing!!
That make too much money off of that to cut it.
 
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StrongArmmed

macrumors member
Aug 10, 2010
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Of course, AT&T is going to come into a perfectly-profitable and respected creative house like HBO and break it. One had to know that was going to occur. It's simply a quest for monetization for T, not understanding WHY people watch HBO. I wouldn't be surprised if there's an exodus of the creative leaders at HBO, soon followed by customers heading for the exits. That is the most likely outcome, not an increase in subscriber eyeballs, post-merger.
 

Maclver

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Nov 23, 2008
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Yeah, this will probably suck. HBO seems like the TV equivalent of "A Thousand No's." There's no way they can become a content farm and not lower their standards. Netflix has a lot of junk and niche content. No one wants a cooking show about Pinterest fails from HBO.

Ok Nailed It is pretty good... lol
 

vipergts2207

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Apr 7, 2009
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Columbus, OH
So it sounds like commercials and lower quality shows will be coming soon to HBO? That's fine, instead of remaining a yearly subscriber, I'll dump it and only subscribe when GoT and Westworld are airing. And you know what having advertisers means? Dealing with censorship and boycotts. The things propping up HBO as such a great content provider are about to be kick out from underneath it.
 

SandboxGeneral

Moderator emeritus
Sep 8, 2010
26,482
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Detroit
I'm really tired of AT&T. I have to deal with the company at work on the business side of commercial phone lines and the 9-1-1 side of telephone lines and they're awful in those areas just as much as the following.

They then buy TWC, raise "administrative fees" on cellular lines and raise rates on DirecTV Now customers. This week they're aiming to ruin HBO.

What's next?
 
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Martinpa

macrumors regular
Oct 30, 2014
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It is beyond me how these companies aren’t scrutinized like Paramount was (and the other majors were) back in the 40s... back then they were forced to sever their exhibition branch, has it was considered monopolistic to own Production, Distribution and Exhibition...

Now we have Netflix producing its own content, distributing it (as well as other content they license) and exhibiting it on their own platform. I’ve been told the argument was that they didn’t own the “pipes” funneling content to the platform (e.g. they aren’t an ISP) which I thought was a very weak argument... isn’t it like saying the Majors didn’t own the company making the projectors or the film positive?

Anyhow, doesn’t matter as now with AT&T and Time Warner merging, we have a company producing content, distributing it, exhibiting it on their platform AND they are an ISP that owns the pipes through which we receive the content on the aforementioned platform. How is that even allowed?!

I guess it’s not that different from Cable companies owning channels that produces their own content ‍♂️
 
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OldSchoolMacGuy

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Jul 10, 2008
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Lots of people with no experience offering their opinions on something they're in no way qualified to speak on in here. Pretty funny.
 

unobtainium

macrumors 68020
Mar 27, 2011
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HBO has done well in the “quality over quantity” department, at least until recently. Westworld doesn’t cut it as a GoT replacement for me and there’s not enough left to justify a monthly subscription fee. Taking a Netflix approach won’t help because that means quantity over quality and (imo) Netflix quality sucks.
 

4jasontv

macrumors 68040
Jul 31, 2011
3,432
3,564
Isn't a low time per day viewed good for their bottom line? They charge between $10 and $20 regardless of the amount content a subscriber streams. With lower usage comes lower bandwidth costs.
 
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KPandian1

macrumors 65816
Oct 22, 2013
1,493
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Somebody, please start a rival HBO-like production group. This one is going to sink in the Marina Trench.
 
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