HBO Go Mobile App Gets More Than 1 Million Downloads in First Week

Helen Sloan/HBO

HBO co-president Eric Kessler says "Game of Thrones" will be an early attempt at creating exclusive HBO Go windows, and he argues any negative effect on DVD sales from broader availability of HBO content will be negligible.


NEW YORK -- Time Warner's HBO crossed the 1 million mark for downloads of its HBO Go mobile app in its first week, co-president Eric Kessler said here Tuesday.

He also said that Game of Thrones will be an early test for plans to offer exclusive content windows on HBO Go.

And Kessler argued that any negative effect from wider availability of HBO content via HBO Go on HBO's DVD sales will be negligible in the bigger picture.

He mentioned the quick uptake of the Apple and Android HBO Go app during his Tuesday keynote appearance at the Streaming Media East conference. "It is a great milestone to hit so quickly but what is even more exciting is that we are seeing continued enthusiasm and activity each day," said Kessler.

Asked about the potential effect on DVD sales of HBO shows, he explained that about half of the people who buy HBO DVDs are not HBO subscribers. And 70 percent of the HBO subscribers who buy DVDs like owning physical product, he added.

"Even if it impacts a small part of our DVD business, what drives the economics of our business is the subscription service," and that is becoming even more appealing with HBO Go, Kessler said.

The executive on Tuesday also said that HBO Go will exclusively make available the following week's episode of new HBO hit Game of Thrones right after the May 22 episode, which ends with a cliffhanger that Kessler said will entice fans to immediately see what happens next. The move is part of a plan to offer exclusive content windows on HBO Go to "encourage registration" of users for the service, he said.

The HBO Go app is available to HBO subscribers for Apple’s iPad, iPhone and iPod touch and smartphones using Google’s Android free of charge through participating TV providers.

HBO Go offers more than 1,400 titles, including every episode of popular HBO shows and Hollywood blockbusters.

With the premium TV firm's recent launch of HBO Go, HBO viewing on computers, iPads and the like is expected to grow.

"We want to be on every platform," Kessler said Tuesday, signaling deals with Internet-enabled TV manufacturers and game console makers are likely to be announced over the next few months.

Twitter: @georgszalai