HBO CEO: 'Global' OTT Platform Will Be Ready in 2018

HBO CEO Richard Plepler said on Monday that the premium video service will have “one global platform” for its over-the-top streaming services ready to launch sometime next year.

Plepler made the comment during a keynote interview at MIPCOM, the global entertainment content market and conference in Cannes, France.

Right now, HBO has a number of products in the U.S. and abroad, ranging from its authenticated streaming service HBO Go and streaming service HBO Now, to international streaming services like HBO Nordic and HBO’s service in Spain, which Plepler said demonstrated HBO’s international appeal.

While HBO has no plans to abandon the traditional pay-TV ecosystem in the U.S., it is attempting to make gains with consumers who don’t buy expensive TV packages.

“Today we've got 19 million broadband-only homes in the United States. That's an exciting market to approach,” Plepler said.

Of course, in any conversation about OTT, it's hard to ignore the elephant in the room: Netflix. "We're not trying to be Netflix,” Plepler said. “This has never been about them or us. It's about them AND us.”

HBO launched its HBO Now streaming service in the U.S. in 2015, after first testing the OTT waters in the Nordic region. The service, which is targeted to consumers who do not subscribe to a pay-TV service, provides on-demand access to HBO’s full library of programming.

While traditional TV channels had experimented with authenticated streaming services, HBO Now was different because it allowed consumers to skip the pay-TV bundle altogether, allowing it to compete more directly with Netflix.

In an interview with Variety, Plepler expanded somewhat on HBO’s international streaming plans, noting that in its TV deals around the world, the company has the option to expand into OTT, if it believes the product would work in that market. “We’re following the money, but we’re not following it myopically,” Plepler said. “We’re looking out at a five- to eight-year horizon and evaluating [OTT] on a case-by-case basis.”

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