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HBO Not Looking to Match Netflix's $7 Billion Content Spend in 2018, CEO Says

4 Oct, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel


HBO CEO Richard Plepler


On the heels of Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos reiterating plans to spend upwards of $7 billion on original content, including movies in 2018, rival HBO has no desire to replicate the spending largess, according to CEO Richard Plepler.

Speaking Oct. 3 on CNBC, Plepler said more content does not translate into better content. He said creating outstanding content is difficult, and that HBO has the requisite resources (about $2 billion in 2017) to create quality programming.

“We’re going to spend what we need to spend to continue to make sure we’re creating outstanding programming,” Plepler said.

Netflix is spending $6 billion this year, followed by Amazon at $4.5 billion and Hulu at $2.5 billion, according to CNBC.

And the spending is resulting in award-winning programming. At last month’s Emmy Awards ceremony, the first season of Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" became the first SVOD-exclusive series to win a best series award, when it was named Outstanding Drama Series by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

HBO earned Emmys for “Veep,” Big Little Lies and The Night Of, among 29 category wins and 110 nominations. 

“There's a surfeit of content out there,” Plepler said. “Some of it is good. Some of it is mediocre. Some is not so good. I think what our brand reflects and has always reflected is that when you come inside HBO you will see something that stands for quality.”

The executive added that studio movies still make up almost three-quarters of content viewing at HBO. He said revenue growth at the network is on track to be the largest in the company’s 45-year history.

Plepler said he isn’t concerned about having the resources to be competitive, citing HBO’s track record over the past five years.

“We’re going to take that [growth] and continue to invest it in the kind of content that made HBO the kind the brand it is,” he said. “We think we have a pretty good record doing that.”


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