“We have the rights to do it and we would do it if we thought it was in our economic best interest,” Jeff Bewkes says this morning. But the potential market for a stand-alone HBO streaming service in the U.S. is “not sufficiently big enough now.” HBO chief Richard Plepler in March raised some consumers’ hopes that they might soon be able to subscribe to HBO without first buying basic cable: He said that it could make sense to package HBO GO with cable or phone company broadband services. Bewkes noted, though, that HBO and Cinemax have about 40M subscribers via U.S. cable and satellite services. Time Warner wants to protect those relationships: Distributors’ pricing and marketing decisions are even more important than the quality of the programming when it comes to influencing churn rates at the premium channels. Even so, Bewkes says that at Time Warner “we always look at opportunities to increase distribution” — and it already offers HBO GO without a pay TV subscription in Scandinavia. “We’re always going to keep evaluating it depending on the country.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: Iran Disses ‘Argo’ After Oscar Win, ‘I Want Your Love’ Banned In Oz, HBO Go Launches In Asia, Depardieu In Chechnya & More
Iran Dismisses ‘Argo’ As “Anti-Iran”, Pro-CIA
Iran’s culture minister blasted Argo, a day after it won the Best Picture Oscar, calling it anti-Iranian and weak artistically. Iran’s state TV also called the movie “an advertisement for the CIA.” “This anti-Iran film lacks any artistic aspects and it is a very weak film from an artistic perspective and we don’t expect anything else from the enemy,” Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister Mohammad Hosseini said, according to the semi-official Mehr news agency and reported by Reuters. Mehr called the Oscar “politically motivated” because first lady Michelle Obama joined Jack Nicholson via video link from Washington to help present the best picture award. Argo has not screened in any Iranian theaters but the movie has been widely available on bootleg DVDs in the black market in Tehran. The Iran hostage drama also won best film editing and best adapted screenplay.
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes just threw a bucket of ice water on the idea that Netflix chief Reed Hastings raised last week in his quarterly letter to shareholders. “While we compete for content and viewing time with HBO, it is also possible we will find opportunities to work together – just as we do with other networks,” Hastings said. “Consumers who are passionate about movies and TV shows are quite willing to subscribe to multiple services.” Perhaps. But Bewkes isn’t interested in seeing HBO programming appear on Netflix just yet. “There are not talks going on between HBO and Netflix,” he said in his quarterly call with analysts. Although he acknowledges that “sometimes other relationships emerge over time” between competitors, when it comes to Netflix he added: “Not now.”
BETHPAGE, NY – March 14, 2012 – Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) today announced the launch of HBO GO® and MAX GO®, expanding to 12 the number of mobile programming services available to iO TV digital cable customers. HBO GO and MAX GO make HBO® and Cinemax® content available on any Internet-connected computer and other portable devices like the iPad® and iPhone® and Android™ smartphones to customers who receive the channels as part of their cable service.
Following Time Warner Cable’s deal for HBO Go on Friday, Cablevision had remained the only major cable operator not to offer the HBO streaming service.
BETHPAGE, NY—December 19, 2011 – Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) today announced an agreement to offer its iO TV® customers access to HBO’s authenticated online video destinations, HBO GO® and MAX GO®. Cablevision customers who subscribe to HBO and/or Cinemax will have free, unlimited access to the corresponding online services at any time, on any computer in the U.S. with a high?speed Internet connection as well as iPad®, iPhone®, iPod touch® and select AndroidTM devices. The company expects to launch these services in the next few months.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had the best line of the day at the UBS Annual Global Media and Communications Conference. Told that last year his company was the object of ”mystique, envy and fear” at the confab, Hastings said: ”Now it’s just pity.” Well, yes — considering that his company’s stock has fallen 77% since mid-July, when Netflix boosted prices by 60% for consumers who wanted to continue to receive DVDs and stream videos. ”We had done so many difficult things that we became overconfident,” Hastings says. “Our big obsession for the year was, ‘Let’s not live and die by DVD.’ ” But the change ”turned out to be a little too fast. … We berate ourselves tremendously for that lack of insight.” But his appearance at the UBS gathering was designed to demonstrate that Netflix is back on track — and that its shares are worth buying again. For investors who believe that Web video is going to soar, ”we’re the leading play on that thesis. … As long as we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot anymore, it’s a great opportunity.” He adds that “there’s no effective competitor for exactly what we do.”
Hastings predicted that within the next 10 years about half of all TV viewing will come via the Internet. He says that TV manufacturers ”want you to live in their device.” While about a third of TV sets sold today can connect directly to the Internet, “in a few years most of the TVs sold will be smart TVs. … It’s a phenomenal revolution.” The biggest loser will be broadcast TV, he says. “It’ll be declining like land-line telephony. … To some degree we’ll look at broadcast in 20 years as being like (telephone) party lines.” And as broadband providers include more fiber optic lines in their networks, they’ll be able to transmit Internet video at speeds of 1 gigabit per second. “Peak Netflix viewing on a Saturday night could still fit through one fiber optic (line),” he says. “A gigabit is a tiny fraction of what’s possible over fiber optic.” Hastings says that providers shouldn’t have to raise prices, or resort to usage-based pricing, to handle all of that Internet video traffic — although they might try to do so. ”It would be unfortunate because it’s not based on the costs,” which are fixed, he says. Consumers also might balk. ”Time Warner Cable tried it a couple of years ago in Texas and backed down. … I doubt it will happen.”
Although Starz appears to be off the market for now, CEO Chris Albrecht told investors today that his channel should still be in the catbird seat as digital media grow. But “it will take money” to produce the …
Xbox Live, the premium online service of Microsoft’s Xbox 360, today unveiled a slew of content deals that will boost the console’s entertainment offerings beginning around the holidays and in more than 20 countries. The news began leaking last week of partnerships, but the announcement included more than 40 providers like Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS and Syfy in the U.S. and international partners like BBC in the UK. The ultimate goal is to make Microsoft’s video game console a one-stop shop for entertainment where users can switch easily between video games, DVDs and entertainment content. Here’s the release:
The wait for HBO Go is almost over for Time Warner Cable customers. TWC is close to an agreement to offer the popular on-demand service, and an announcement might come in the next few weeks, according to a report. …
HBO’s new authenticated online video services, HBO GO and MAX GO, will be available to DirecTV customers beginning tomorrow, April 12, free for HBO subscribers. The services, which offer more than 1400 programs online (current and library titles), have been expanding their reach and will soon be available on iPad, …
HBO has vastly expanded its offerings online on the site HBO GO. More than 1,400 titles will now be available, up from 600 titles previously. That represents “virtually all” of HBO’s programming inventory, including current and former signature series like True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, Entourage, The Sopranos and Sex and …