HBO would like to roll out of its broadband service, HBO Go, internationally. The service is designed to complement HBO’s on-demand offer and allows HBO subscribers to watch content from HBO channels via a web-based browser application.
HBO is currently talking to affiliates in the US about the launch of Go and Simon Sutton, president, programming distribution and international, told TBIvision it is looking at rolling it out across its international hubs, HBO Asia, HBO Central Europe and HBO Latin America.
HBO management is trying to bring some of the products and services available in the US to the regions. “In the US we have HBO Go, which allows you to watch programming and features on a computer and we’ll look to roll that out internationally,” Sutton said.
Plans are at an early stage, but early indications are that the broadband service might carry different branding from ‘HBO Go’ internationally.
A simplified ownership structure means it is easier for HBO to roll out new products and services outside the US. Previously, HBO was a more complex series of multi-partner joint-ventures internationally.
Sutton has aggressively pursued a strategy of buying out HBO’s various international partners. A US$160 million deal to buy Disney and Sony out of HBO Central Europe was recently completed and HBO now has full or majority control of all of its international channels.
It still has partners in Asia and Latin America and Sutton said he’d be “happy to come to an arrangement” with these to increase HBO’s ownership position should the opportunity arise.
“Since I’ve been here we’ve been trying to get ownership of the international channels,” Sutton said. “Five years ago we had small stakes in these, but that’s changed as we’ve done transactions in all areas. That’s an ongoing process.”