HBO Under Pressure From AT&T to Broaden Lineup and Grow

cageymaru

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HBO has come under scrutiny by their new owners AT&T to try something different to compete with other streaming media outlets. Recode was able to obtain a copy of AT&T executive John Stankey's talk before HBO employees as he is now the chief executive of Warner Media. Suggestions presented during the hour long audio recording included releasing a broader lineup of shows to create more engagement time for their viewers and increasing the budget to facilitate the creation of the new shows. HBO is already known for their multiple Emmy award winning Sunday lineup but this isn't good enough for AT&T. They want new engagement data generated every 15 minutes by a customer so HBO can monetize that data through alternative advertising. He discusses how to create viewer addiction from endorphin releases like getting a lot of Facebook likes for a post.

The context of the speech sounds great on the surface as a rah-rah call to action, but how willing would AT&T be to sell or share that data with others? If we have learned anything from the Facebook fiasco it is that greed generates money in the corporate world.

So why do I want to invest more? I want more hours of engagement. Why do we need other properties, have interesting ways for customers to navigate and get to them easily? Because 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 subscription, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow’s world.
 

cageymaru

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That sounds like a mixed bag to me. It SOUNDS like they want to be the next netflix and they want HBO to lead the way.
They sounded great until they started talking about how to generate and monetize advertising data. That threw up all types of red flags for me. You know they are going to share the data with advertising companies. All it takes is one rogue employee or heck AT&T themselves to sell it to the highest bidder.
 

M76

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That's why we can't have nice things... Oh wait that doesn't apply: That's why large greedy conglomerates shouldn't have nice things.
 

MrCaffeineX

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*confused*
Corporate ethics and monetization efforts aside, Disney and Pixar produce quality content in my opinion. Marvel can be more of a mixed bag due to the sheer volume of content created over the last decade, but on the whole I would say they have been pretty good quality as well.

I do find the idea that the new corporate overlords want to change HBO interesting. Their formula has been pretty consistent from what I can remember up to this point: drama+excessive violence+TnA = HBO show. At least in my mind, that is their brand niche. I wonder how mixing things up will work out for them in the long run.
 

twonunpackmule

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Corporate ethics and monetization efforts aside, Disney and Pixar produce quality content in my opinion. Marvel can be more of a mixed bag due to the sheer volume of content created over the last decade, but on the whole I would say they have been pretty good quality as well.
We'll have to agree to disagree.
 

Exavior

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Well, guess we won’t ever get to see the end of game of thrones. Seems fitting since the readers of the books won’t ever get to read it either.
 

pcgeekesq

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That's a pretty low bar. Even a trip to the dentist is more entertaining than 99.9% of TV
Sturgeon's Law is that 90% of everything is crap. There's at least two corollaries:
1) Sturgeon was an optimist, and
2) 90% of everything being crap doesn't mean that the other 10% isn't also crap.
 

pcgeekesq

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Corporate ethics and monetization efforts aside, Disney and Pixar produce quality content in my opinion. Marvel can be more of a mixed bag due to the sheer volume of content created over the last decade, but on the whole I would say they have been pretty good quality as well.
Disney and Pixar can be a mixed bag too. Examples: The Good Dinosaur. Cars 2. Planes.
And let's not mention the older crappy Disney crap, like the animated Hercules and Hunchback movies.
Still, there's enough good stuff from Disney/Pixar/Marvell to make up half of my Blu-Ray/4K collection.
 

oROEchimaru

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Disney and Pixar can be a mixed bag too. Examples: The Good Dinosaur. Cars 2. Planes.
And let's not mention the older crappy Disney crap, like the animated Hercules and Hunchback movies.
Still, there's enough good stuff from Disney/Pixar/Marvell to make up half of my Blu-Ray/4K collection.

Imagine you are 2-6 years old, most kids I know loved those movies. That is Disney's audience . Your hardocp account is older than most of their target audience with those movies.
 

AlphaAtlas

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Corporate ethics and monetization efforts aside, Disney and Pixar produce quality content in my opinion. Marvel can be more of a mixed bag due to the sheer volume of content created over the last decade, but on the whole I would say they have been pretty good quality as well.
Ehhhhhh, Ive seen at least a dozen recent shows that I would rank over anything I've seen from Marvel and Pixar this millennium. Disney itself is a HUGE umbrella though, they own a ton of stuff that doesn't (directly) have their label on it, so I'm not sure how to begin ranking that.


If we're strictly talking visual 4K spectacles, that's a bit more subjective, but I wasn't particularly impressed either. Marvell's visual style seems kinda flashy but bland (bar guardians of the galaxy IMO), and some lip sync and animation quirks bothered me in Incredibles 2.
 

viper1152012

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Lets keep it civil, I believe calling Disney's catalogue crap is a bit harsh.

I happen to love some of those movies.

If their not your favorite...ok

As far as HBO I am a sci-fi nut and they tend to be more drama/grit shows so I don't watch much on their. If they spun up some sci-fi that didn't abruptly end in the second season (looking at you Netflix) I might spend more time on there.
 

JSumrall

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I fail to see how HBO being given more money to make more quality content along the lines of how much content Netflix and Amazon are making is a bad thing.

Oh wait. It's greedy AT&T calling the shots now. Game [of Thrones] Over.
 

pcgeekesq

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Imagine you are 2-6 years old, most kids I know loved those movies.
Hunchback had as the villain a clergyman who lusted after Esmeralda and would have raped her if he could have.
The Good Dinosaur includes a Thidwick-like dinosaur clearly tripping on something.

These are not things I would show 2-6 year olds.

Good kid's movies can be enjoyed by anyone. My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Wreck-It Ralph are kid's movies, but I like them all quite a lot.
 

pcgeekesq

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Lets keep it civil, I believe calling Disney's catalogue crap is a bit harsh.
I happen to love some of those movies.
Me too. Frozen is just gorgeous, I will buy it on 4K the day it comes out.
And Avengers: Infinity War is coming out on 4K on August 14, a definite must-buy. Thanos is the best villain since Loki.

Full disclosure: I own Disney stock, have taken three Adventures by Disney and have two more booked, have taken two Disney cruises, and am a member of the Disney Vacation Club (at Bay Lake Tower). And I'll be spending 10 days, 9 nights at Walt Disney World this fall.

I'm not a Disney fanatic: my house isn't decorated in wall-to-wall Disney like a friend of mine's is.
But Disney provides the kind of entertainment I like. Disney vacations are not cheap, but I've haven't been disappointed. And having a Disney brand on a movie is, in my experience, a better indication of whether I am likely to enjoy it than a high Tomato rating or an Academy Award -- except Lucasfilm, that brand is pretty badly damaged right now.
 
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Dayaks

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They sounded great until they started talking about how to generate and monetize advertising data. That threw up all types of red flags for me. You know they are going to share the data with advertising companies. All it takes is one rogue employee or heck AT&T themselves to sell it to the highest bidder.
I usually sub for a month to watch Westworld / Game of Thrones but fuck that if they are going down the shady route of selling data (what data exactly anyways?) $15/month isn’t enough?
 

Factum

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What makes HBO great is not their "Broad Appeal".
It is shows like West World, Game of Thrones, Rome, Vikings, Band of Brothers ect.

Shows were sex, nudity, violence are not shunned and where the little grey matter has to be activated...that is why they are successfull...they offer something more real and less puritan and "disney" like that the rest.

This is a dumb move...broader means "watered down" (to suit people who gets offended by most stuff) = the end of HBO.
 

Teenyman45

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That sounds like a mixed bag to me. It SOUNDS like they want to be the next netflix and they want HBO to lead the way.
It also sounds like a big mistake. HBO's bread and butter comes from being one of the main premium add-ons to a cable package. What people seem to want is higher end programing than can generally be gotten on network TV, plus swears and nudity, along with showing batches of first run movies.

Don't water down this formula, especially on the actual cable channel.

Hunchback had as the villain a clergyman who lusted after Esmeralda and would have raped her if he could have.
The Good Dinosaur includes a Thidwick-like dinosaur clearly tripping on something.

These are not things I would show 2-6 year olds.

Good kid's movies can be enjoyed by anyone. My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, and Wreck-It Ralph are kid's movies, but I like them all quite a lot.
By your logic Bambi, Snow White, Fantasia, and Dumbo would not be appropriate for a six year old either.
 

Litfod

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Shows were sex, nudity, violence are not shunned and where the little grey matter has to be activated...that is why they are successfull...they offer something more real and less puritan and "disney" like that the rest.

This is a dumb move...broader means "watered down" (to suit people who gets offended by most stuff) = the end of HBO.
Yeah, sounds to me suspiciously like AT&T would rather have more quality stuff like house flipping and talent shows to appeal to all the people who find HBO too challenging, but who are still perfectly good (if not better) ad targets.
 

Factum

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Yeah, sounds to me suspiciously like AT&T would rather have more quality stuff like house flipping and talent shows to appeal to all the people who find HBO too challenging, but who are still perfectly good (if not better) ad targets.
Don't get me started on people unable to follow eg. "WestWorld"....because a show that is not A...B...C...D....E...F ->Predict G here, but more like A...Z...K...W...O...K... hurts their brain too much.
But I fear you are right...and the sad part is if HBO gets "broader"...it will lose it's appeal...become a "netflix"-clone..and die off...
 

DedEmbryonicCe11

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For anyone who thinks HBO's lineup is too narrow feel free to go through the list of shows and miniseries they've run that have won multiple awards and then count how many of those you never watched and have no interest in because of the subject matter. I'm guessing I never consume more than 20% of their original content if that and I'm still happy with what I get based on the quality of it. I'd be much less impressed if they had 3 variations of Game of Thrones all diluted in quality just to rake in more eyeballs.
 

Exavior

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It also sounds like a big mistake. HBO's bread and butter comes from being one of the main premium add-ons to a cable package. What people seem to want is higher end programing than can generally be gotten on network TV, plus swears and nudity, along with showing batches of first run movies.

Don't water down this formula, especially on the actual cable channel.



By your logic Bambi, Snow White, Fantasia, and Dumbo would not be appropriate for a six year old either.
Fantasia and Dumbo contain racist sections not suitable for a child. Bambi teachs you that murdering animals is fine. Snow White teaches girls it’s ok for a woman to live with multiple guys thus promoting being a whore and sleeping around. So no, you should not let a 6 year old snow flake watch those movies unless you want them screwed up for life. ;)
 

Wiffle

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I think everyone is taking the wrong idea from this guys speech. I don't see how they want HBO to become a "Netflix" clone. If there is anything to be taken from this, then its that AT&T is in the process of making their own platform and using the Time Warner acquisition to be their initial content lineup... which is considerable. Its more likely that they will convert "DirecTV" and their "U-Verse" crap into a content delivery platform. If anything, the pressure they will put on HBO and the rest of Time Warner will be to start cranking out more quality content faster. They want blockbuster movie titles and award winning tv shows to be exclusively released on their networks first. It gives AT&T first access to all this data, rather than having to purchase it from a third-party. The key here is "MORE DATA COLLECTION". Big Shows means more subscribers.

They own the physical networks
They own the Production Studios
They own a vast library of content
What they don't have is a streamlined app where a single individual can access it all.

AT&T Plans on utilizing what they have acquired to create a network/content-platform in one. This way they can eliminate the millions wasted in redundant advertising by simply advertising over their own networks or by placement in content. At the same time, they can rake in millions in advertising because they have created a platform that reaches millions and others will come to them and pay AT&T for access to their advertising network. Not to mention the MASSIVE retinue of actors available to do product advertising cheaply because now its part of your contract.

I don't think this guy is banking AT&T's future on having a stable subscriber base paying 15-300 a month for services, because as we have seen recently subscribers come and go. He is trying to push AT&T to something closer to Facebook and Google by focusing on advertising and data collection of 100 million+ and growing number of subscribers.

I also still think AT&T is the scum of the earth. They advertise gigabit U-Verse fiber to the citizens of my town, but all they have available is DSL that was put in back in the Yahoo days, and the network is already over-saturated. Our library and community college have the gigabit service, because taxpayers payed for it, but they never expanded upon it so it isn't available to anyone else. Pay a premium for crap service, and its the only landline service worth a damn.
 

pcgeekesq

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By your logic Bambi, Snow White, Fantasia, and Dumbo would not be appropriate for a six year old either.
Nonsense. Those are fine for 6-yr olds, even the crows in Dumbo-- unless you tell them about it, a 6-yr old won't recognize the stereotype. Ever.

Well I think I seen about everything,
When I see politicians not lie.

[And Disney, release a restored version of Song of the South, damn it. Kids these days don't know nothin 'bout the briar patch.
They ride Splash Mountain and have no freaking clue what's going on there.
It's not respecting traditional African-American folklore tales by trying to erase them from the public consciousness. ]
 

pcgeekesq

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Bambi teachs you that murdering animals is fine. Snow White teaches girls it’s ok for a woman to live with multiple guys thus promoting being a whore and sleeping around.
DO not read the following if your parody detector is broken:

1) you can't murder animals, you can only murder human beings.
2a) you're promoting sexism by saying that a woman living with one or men implies she's sleeping with them.
2b) you have no evidence Snow White is having sex with anyone, much less being paid for it, so calling her a whore is misogyny.
2c) what's wrong with a woman sleeping around, anyway? And what's wrong with getting paid for it?
2d) saying it's wrong for a woman to enter a male-dominated household men is the exactly the same as saying it's wrong for women to enter male-dominated occupations.

Bambi shows that taking an animal's life has negative consequences and therefore should not be done lightly.
Snow White shows it's okay for young women to flaunt anti-female social conventions.
So not only are these movies appropriate for 6-yr olds, we should force all 6-yr olds to watch them,
sewing their eyelids open if necessary.

:)
 
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