Monday, July 9, 2018

Report: Changes Coming to HBO

John Stankey
Change is coming to HBO, now that it is part of the AT&T corporate family. That much was clear to the 150 employees who attended a recent town hall meeting at the network’s headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.

Following its acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T has big plans for the cable network, according to The New York Times, which obtained a recording of a recent town hall meeting at AT&T's headquarters in Manhattan.

The recording reveals that in an hour-long talk, Warner Media's new CEO John Stankey, a long-time AT&T exec, said it would be a "tough year" and described a future in which HBO, according to the Times, would be "bigger and broader" in hopes of substantially increasing its subscriber base.

"We need hours a day. It's not hours a week, and it's not hours a month. ...You are competing with devices that sit in people's hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes," the Times reports Stankey saying, noting that the words "Netflix" and "Amazon" never crossed his lips but were clearly in his mind.

The NYTimes reports AT&T executives said all the right things during the long prelude to the company’s $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner, which was completed last month. They acknowledged that the corporate culture of a Dallas-based telecommunications giant was different from that of the more freewheeling media and entertainment concerns in New York and California. They pledged to take a hands-off approach to the company’s crown jewel, HBO, which has won endless Emmys while generating billions in profits.

But the town hall meeting suggested that AT&T would not be a passive corporate parent.

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