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Plepler to MVPDs: Get With the Program

Richard Plepler believes that  MVPDs such as Comcast, Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable are missing a chance to make a deeper connection with broadband-only customers by not partnering up to distribute HBO Now, the premium programmer’s stand-alone over-the-top subscription offering.

“This is not exclusive to our new digital partners like Apple and Android and Roku,” Plepler said Tuesday at the WSJD Live event  in Laguna Beach, Calif. “This also can be a tremendous opportunity for our traditional distributors…We’re saying to our partners, ‘Join us’ – our new digital partners and our traditional partners.”

Many of those distributors have yet to get on board.

“If you’re Brian (Roberts) and you have 6 million broadband subs, why would you not bundle HBO and share that revenue with us?,” Plepler asked,  according to Variety. “Why would you give up that real estate and not be paid for it? I don’t understand it.”

He also reiterated his view that HBO Now’s approach does not cannibalize their traditional pay TV businesses, noting that just 1% of HBO Now subscribers were former pay TV customers. HBO has not released subscriber numbers for HBO Now, though the service is expected to generate losses in 2015.

HBO Now went live on April 7, and has managed to strike distribution deals with Apple, Cablevision Systems, and Verizon Communications, among others.