HBO Head Says Channel Has Considered Standalone HBO Go Service

Richard Plepler
Richard Plepler
 Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

HBO chief executive Richard Plepler said Wednesday that the premium channel has considered offering a standalone version of HBO Go and that it is willing to offer such a service the moment the arithmetic makes sense.

"It's a sin to leave money on the table," Plepler said while discussing HBO Go and other digital matters at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

"We will not be caught without the ability to pivot should we decide that pivoting is the right thing to do," Plepler said.

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The CEO acknowledged that only a small percentage of HBO subscribers use HBO Go, adding that it doesn't make sense to offer that product or a similar one separated from the HBO cable TV service, given that there are about 9 million broadband-only homes in the U.S. compared to about 70 million cable and satellite subscribers.

Pressed on the issue, Plepler said: "We have the capacity to do whatever we want, when we choose to do it."

He also noted HBO does well in homes that also subscribe to Netflix and vice-versa, making the point that "entertainment junkies" ensure that a variety of options will continue to grow and thrive.

"It's just arithmetic. Right now, this is the best model," he said of HBO Go requiring an HBO subscription.

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