HBO to Launch Stand-Alone Streaming Services in Brazil and Argentina This Year

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HBO CEO Richard Plepler

The premium channel has also extended an agreement with Summit Entertainment, which will provide its films through 2022.

HBO will launch stand-alone over-the-top services in Brazil and Argentina this year, the premium channel's chairman and CEO Richard Plepler announced Wednesday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

When the two South American countries are added, along with Spain, also coming shortly, it will have stand-alone streaming services in 12 territories, including the U.S., Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Colombia, Mexico, Hong Kong and Singapore.

HBO Now, which has about 800,000 subscribers in the U.S., is also headed for the PlayStation and Xbox platforms this year as the premium cable network tries to ramp up the digital service quickly, targeting the 12 million-15 million households that it has labeled "persuadable homes." 

HBO Go, the digital service for subscribers to regular HBO, has seen usage soar 40 percent in a year, Plepler told the Wall Street analysts in attendance Wednesday. He also noted that HBO's digital services are not cannibalistic, since less than 1 percent of HBO's traditional subscribers have ditched TV for them.

Plepler also announced that HBO has extended an agreement for movies provided by Lionsgate's Summit Entertainment through 2022, and noted that Hollywood films are an underappreciated aspect of HBO's business.

"I say this over and over again, and people sometimes look at me quizzically, but movies represent over 75 percent of viewing on HBO," he said. Summit's Divergent films and John Wick are top performers on HBO.

Plepler also said 62 percent of on-demand viewing on HBO is for Hollywood movies and 40 percent of its subscribers watch only movies — no TV shows — on HBO.

He noted HBO is growing subscribers while some competitors are faltering, and predicted a strong renewal cycle.

"Look, we help our distributors grow. They know that," said Plepler. "Whether they're doing it through skinny bundles, whether they're doing it through basic-plus packages, whether they're doing it through triple-play packages, we make the bundle stickier."

"There's gold in the hills for all of us. That's unequivocal," he said.