Tuesday July 10, 2018

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

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.

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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.