Plepler: HBO OTT Won’t Cannibalize Cable Subs

Home Box Office chairman and CEO Richard Plepler said plans to launch an over-the-top version of the premium channel next year won’t cannibalize existing pay TV customers, adding that the company will initially target the estimated 10 million broadband-only subscribers across the country.

Speculation that HBO would offer an over-the-top version has been around for months and one of the concerns is that it would give younger, tech-savvy and cost-conscious consumers another excuse to cut the pay TV cord. Plepler said the initial focus will be on broadband only customers — which HBO will go after with their pay TV partners. But he earlier said the ultimate market for the service is the 80 million homes that don’t subscribe to HBO, many of whom have a pay TV subscription.

Plepler said he has spoken to almost every distribution CEO about HBO’s plans, adding that they see the service as a “lean into” opportunity. He added that 85% of Netflix subscribers are multichannel video programming distributor subscribers too.

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