Huge entertainment mergers are the rage right now as Walt Disney Company and Comcast fight for 21st Century Fox and the scramble for The Weinstein Company have been in the news. Also, on that front, of course, is the buyout AT&T has just pulled off of Time Warner. We all know that HBO is just one of the assets now under that new ownership and HBOWatch is been eager to learn what ramifications may result from the change. Some word has no dropped on the matter.
Bloomberg had an interview with John Stankey, the incoming head of AT&T Inc.’s entertainment division and among other topics regarding the $85 million purchase he had something to say about what he has in mind for HBO. He stated, “I fully expect we’re going to be investing heavier in content development at HBO.” He is out to compete in the market against such giants as Netflix. Upping the entertainment content is the only way. Perhaps with the infusion of money & talent, HBO will expand its dramatic content to additional nights beyond just Sundays? Perhaps it streaming sites, HBOGo & HBONow, will feature even more content and even exclusive content? There also was talk of strengthening HBO’s global footprint.
An interesting statistic to note (using Bloomberg’s words) however is that – even if HBO steps up spending, its budget will likely remain a shadow of Netflix’s. HBO’s overall programming budget, including original series and film deals, was around $2.5 billion in 2017. Netflix plans to spend $8 billion on programming this year. That fact is why all reports state something to the effect that it will be an “uphill battle” for market dominance.
HBOWatch will continue its watch to see how HBO evolves. It is still the gold standard in many aspects but the heightened competition and the new creative forces can only improve HBO in the long run. We will keep you posted of new developments to the channel, the online sites and HBO structuring going forward. Now there is something exciting on the horizon beyond the final season of GAME OF THRONES!