HBO Will Never Be Like Netflix: Time Warner CEO

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HBO Will Never Be Like Netflix: Time Warner CEO
NFLX Photo by Matt Perreault

Netflix has been time and again been compared to Time Warner’s HBO for its critically praised original programming. But now the successfully running premium cable network has made it clear that it never intends to become more like its online peer.

Programming aimed at Millennials

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, when asked to comment on the range of content at HBO Now and its $14.99 monthly price vs. Netflix’s $7.99-$11.99, dispelled the comparison.

On Tuesday speaking at the Deutsche Bank 2016 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, Bewkes said, “We don’t want and we haven’t intended to take that HBO brand and the original programming, and move it to essentially a bulk syndicated (video-on-demand), which is what the new (subscription video-on-demand, or SVOD) entrants mostly have.”

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Bewkes sounded optimistic even in distancing the HBO brand from Netflix and Amazon as he was positive on the network’s ability to increase market share among users whose viewing habits are quickly shifting away from traditional TV sets to mobile devices.

“A lot of that programming is aimed at Millennials,” he said “It’s great for the broadband product, and it’s very well matched up to the increasing mobile use of HBO Go or HBO Now.”

What makes HBO different from Netflix?

Bewkes added that his company has a very unyielding current theatrical film offering at HBO that no one else has, and it should not be “overlooked.”

Likely referring to Amazon Video, Hulu and Netflix, Bewkes said, “We don’t think it’s to HBO’s advantage to join the other three or four SVOD services that are essentially doing broad-reach syndication services.”

Unilke HBO’S well-established originals strategy and strong movie catalog, streaming serivces are necessarily providing a “syndication product with originals,” the executive said. From the about 800,000 subscribers for HBO Now reported during the most recent earning call, the number of subscribers has risen to “nearly a million,” said Bewkes.

On Tuesday, Netflix shares closed up 0.77% at $96.23. Year to date, the stock is down by almost 16%, while in the last year, it is up by over 48%. Time Warner shares closed down 2.14% at $68.08. Year to date, the stock is up by over 5%, while in the last year, it is down by over 19%.

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