HBO CEO Richard Plepler on Friday predicted that The Walt Disney Co. recently buying most of 21st Century Fox means that Fox films will eventually disappear from Time Warner's pay cable TV channel.
"It's right to assume we have Fox and Universal movies well out into the coming number of years," Plepler said of current movie output deals with Universal Studios and 20th Century Fox set to run through to 2022.
"But if you go out past that, you don't have to be a genius to assume [Disney chairman/CEO] Bob [Iger] will take those Fox movies back into the Disney company. But there are other ways to skin the movie cat, and we will," he added during a keynote address to the Mobile World Congress in Los Angeles.
HBO has been the premium TV network home of 20th Century Fox movies for 30 years, but that will change, Plepler forecast. "As the world changes, we're going to improvising and reimagining how that movie lineup is going to move," he said.
Making his first public appearance since the AT&T-Time Warner merger was completed, the HBO boss also talked about his premium pay TV channel's content play now that it was part of a bigger media player. "The key to a great content strategy is making sure you're working with the best people in the business," he told the tech conference.
"We think we have a good track record of doing that over the years," he added about bringing in the best talent. On the digital side, Plepler pointed to HBO aiming to reach consumers on all emerging digital platforms beyond HBO Now and HBO Go.
"As broadband-only homes increase, and even with our traditional partners who have broadband-only customers, we just want to be available to everybody so they have an opportunity to buy us — off a skinny bundle, that's fine, off a broadband-only product, that's fine," he argued.
"We just want the access available to consumers," Plepler added about his agnostic position on new technology.