Local original content is a key part of HBO’s International Strategy
HBO, the cable network juggernaut, is evaluating the possibility of expanding its OTT platform across the globe in 2018. Currently, the Time Warner-owned company has channels in 60 countries, through a mix of OTT offerings, cable channels, and brand licensing deals.
“What we are going to do over the next few years…is look at each market, and make a decision whether or not it is smarter for us to build OTT businesses where we own our own content, in more countries than we have right now, or whether the licensing deals that we are doing [make more sense],” HBO CEO Richard Plepler (pictured) explained at the Business Insider Ignition conference.
Plepler expressed his confidence in the future expansion, “If I was betting, I think we would see more and more OTT,” he said.
HBO’s international strategy is the same as most services who have extended their reach pas the US border– local original content. Take HBO Europe for example, for the past few years the company has been working on producing local movies with Romanian actors. It has also invested in several Czech miniseries including “Wasteland,”which was made in collaboration with local production outfits nutprodukce and Etamp.
Despite the increased cost of funding local programming, locally produced shows “Often outperform even ‘Game of Thrones,‘ or ‘Westword‘ — sometimes by two or three two one,” Plepler explained at the conference.
Just this month HBO launched an OTT service in four countries in Central Europe, including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. The company also has streaming services in Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.