HBO’s New Plan: Less Curation, Greater Duration

Hbos New Approach Less Curation Greater Duration

After failing to get much traction beyond its more wide-appealing shows like “Bosch” and “The Man in the High Castle,” Amazon changed tactics and has been pursuing shows with a more wide appeal. The mandate is simple – more big tentpole style series with a huge international draw as opposed to smaller arty fare like “Z: The Beginning of Everything” and “Crisis in Six Scenes” which have only limited niche appeal at best.

It would seem HBO, the premium cable network who has proudly differentiated itself from Netflix, Amazon and the like by being of the few remaining bastions of the quality over quantity approach, may soon be changing tactics to closer match their rivals.

With the AT&T/Time Warner merger going forward, John Stankey is the new chief exec at Warner Media and recently addressed employees of HBO to present his vision for the network. The New York Times now has a breakdown of what was said and Stankey’s approach which is for the network to up the amount of content it airs. By a lot:

“We need hours a day. It’s not hours a week, and it’s not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes. It’s going to be a tough year. It’s going to be a lot of work to alter and change direction a little bit.

I want more hours of engagement. Why are more hours of engagement important? Because you get more data and information about a customer that then allows you to do things like monetize through alternate models of advertising as well as subscriptions, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow’s world.

As I step back and think about what’s unique about the brand and where it needs to go, there’s got to be a little more depth to it, there’s got to be more frequent engagement. [HBO must] build that brand so that it’s broad enough to make that happen. I do believe there needs to be stepped-up investment.”

This means it’s unlikely, though not impossible, for the network to maintain its reputation for high-quality original entertainment. It also means HBO is repositioning itself to become the next major streaming giant in the next few years, but in order to do so, it’s going to cost a whole bunch.

The reveal comes as the network has used Twitter to announce a September 9th premiere date for the second season of its 1970s-set drama “The Deuce” with James Franco confirmed to be returning. They’ve also released an ‘In the Weeks Ahead’ trailer for “Sharp Objects” following the show’s premiere on the network last night.