Culture&Arts

HBO must 'change direction' to flourish, says its new boss

HBO must 'change direction' to flourish, says its new boss

Stankey, a self-described "bell head" executive with a telecommunications background, took over HBO as part of AT&T's $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

AT&T has been the proud owner of HBO for less than a month, and it is already considering an overhaul that would see HBO produce more video that can compete for the attention of smartphone users.

Plepler sounds game. "I've said, 'More is not better, only better is better, ' because that was the hand we had", he remarked.

HBO has come under scrutiny by their new owners AT&T to try something different to compete with other streaming media outlets. "It's going to be a lot of work to alter and change direction a little bit".

Get access to our daily newsletters, Best Stocks List, POWR Ratings, and much more! It's no great surprise that AT&T views HBO content as merely the conduit for juicy data that it can use to more efficiently exploit its customers but to hear that ambition so brutally detailed so soon is somewhat jarring. "It's not hours a week, and it's not hours a month", he said. We'll kick off today's show with everything you need to know about negotiations and the furor Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to manage on a tight deadline.

He continued: "As I step back and think about what's unique about the brand and where it needs to go, there's got to be a little more depth to it, there's got to be more frequent engagement".

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Up until this moment, HBO has prided itself on being a "quality over quantity" network, garnering more Primetime Emmy Awards than its competitions in the past 16 years. "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".

"Yes, you do", Mr. Stankey said.

"We're not trying to create the most, we're trying to create excellence across our categories", Plepler told CNBC past year. A move to more bite-sized, lowest-common-denominator programming may increase the bottom line, but moving away from what has made HBO so culturally relevant for so long is a risky move - even Netflix, ostensibly HBO's biggest competitor in the current landscape, has realized the importance of original programming, and have spent millions on programming that have become cultural sensations, such as Stranger Things.

Does Stankey want to turn HBO into Netflix? "I've said, 'More is not better, only better is better, ' because that was the hand we had", he said.

Stankey warned that HBO employee jobs are "safe", but they will probably have to "work harder" than in the past.

Though much of the meeting's contents were vague - neither Stankey or Plepler seemed to announce any concrete changes coming to HBO - it's clear that the company's content will be changing quite a bit moving forward.