Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bad economy isn't hurting Time Warner's HBO

LA Times

The economy may be pounding entertainment companies left and right, but Time Warner Inc.'s pay cable channel HBO so far has been immune to the turmoil, its top executives said Thursday.

Speaking at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena, HBO Co-President Richard Plepler said the company's strong DVD sales, along with little evidence of subscribers' dropping the service to save a few bucks, had the network feeling "cautiously optimistic" that it could weather the storm.
HBO has about 30 million subscribers, up slightly from a year ago. It is also expanding its online presence with HBO Go, its re-branded broadband offering. The service, which is being tested in 5,000 Comcast homes, will offer 650 hours of HBO content. Plepler said HBO was talking with other distributors about carrying the broadband service. To access programming online, consumers will have to prove that they already are HBO subscribers.

Although the dollars are still coming in, HBO's other co-president, Michael Lombardo, said the channel was not looking to increase its programming budgets in the near future. He noted that the new comedy "Hung" would be back for a second season next summer, along with the series "True Blood" and "Entourage."

read on