When you think of original US TV programming, one cable channel stands out from the rest: HBO. Throughout the years, they have created some incredible content, including Game of Thrones, True Detective, The Jinx, Band of Brothers and The Wire.
However, in recent years, Netflix has become a major competitor, commissioning its own original content, including House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Masters of None and Daredevil.
Already this year, it was announced that the streaming service will double its production this year, creating upwards of 600 hours worth of content while adding 130 countries to its roster.
So, how will HBO compete? While speaking at Warner’s Q4 earnings call, HBO CEO Richard Plepler and Time Warner's Jeff Bewkes revealed - according to Business Insider - that the television network will increase production by 50 per cent this year, then increase international expansion.
They also said HBO wants to move onto all devices - i.e. become available on laptop, phone, tablet, smart TV etc - and break from a traditional ‘cable package’.
The effects of this new investment are already being seen, with Martin Scorsese’s music drama Vinyl already having a second series commissioned, despite relatively low ratings.
Last year, it was confirmed that Game of Thrones will run for at least another series after the upcoming series six, with stars having already signed on. So can we expect yet more tales from Westeros, based on George RR Martin’s extra work? Perhaps this is a little too much milking for a station once renown for commissioning self-contained series.
With its rivalry with Netflix growing yet more contentious, HBO will also be pushing its own subscription streaming service, HBO Now, which launched last April. However, numbers have not been growing at the rate expected by analysts, something Plepler isn’t too worried about just yet.
He reasoned that much of their content suited for online streaming is only just kicking off, including Jon Stewart’s upcoming project and Vice’s daily news show. Netflix, meanwhile, has only expressed interest in news shows, without actually producing any, but this could become another area of competition.
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