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HBO European Disc Sales Increase

2 Nov, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

HBO Europe CEO Linda Jensen departing at end of the year as premium channel consolidates HBO Nordic, HBO Netherlands and Europe senior management

Despite ongoing growth in digital distribution, packaged-media sales of HBO programs such as “Game of Thrones” and “True Detective” are doing well in Europe, Sofia Chang, EVP of worldwide digital distribution and home entertainment, told a media conference.

Speaking Oct. 28 at the PEVE Business Futures 2015 confab in London, Chang said the premium channel’s disc sales are up 30% and 20%, respectively, in Germany and the United Kingdom. She said the increases are due largely to programs with global appeal.

“We do hear a lot of doom and gloom predictions about the home entertainment business, particularly on the physical side, but for us at HBO, we have had another great year,” said Chang, as reported by Cue Entertainment.

She said packaged media’s success — compared with digital — could be impacted by the fact HBO distributes discs in 75 countries, while Digital HD is limited to seven countries.

“There are language issues and technical components to consider,” Chang said.

Indeed, HBO, which launched subscription streaming service HBO Now (in the U.S. only) earlier this year, largely limits global digital access to programming via HBO Go, the channel’s TV Everywhere platform for authenticated subscribers.

Chang said that packaged media and digital customers remain separate — with the latter group underscored by broadband-only millennial subscribers who, on average, are 10 years younger than HBO Go users.

“More than 99% of HBO Now customers [in the U.S.] are new to us. I think the tiny fraction who are not are mostly HBO staff. It is incremental business; there is barely any cannibalization across the platforms,” she said.

Separately, Linda Jensen, CEO of HBO Europe, is departing at end of the year (after 11 years) as the premium channel consolidates HBO Nordic, HBO Netherlands and Europe senior management under one executive.

That will be Hervé Payan, who is now CEO of HBO Nordic.

“Hervé has extensive experience, not only at HBO Nordic, but across Europe where he held a variety of senior positions. He is the perfect executive to lead this new structure into what will be a very exciting and dynamic future,” Bernadette Aulestia, EVP of global distribution operations, said in a statement.

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