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“Right now, I feel like we have got enough to do the programing we need to do, but there will always be a debate about the right amount of programming, and therefore is there the right amount of money?” he adds. “We would have these debates at HBO within Time Warner, how much does HBO need, do we have the right amount? … What is the right amount of programming to reach subscribers? And I don’t know, I’m not sure anybody has the exact right answer, some of it is always going to be trial and error.”
And with the so-called “streaming wars” nearing a tipping point (and with Discovery set to merge with WarnerMedia in the next year), the company is continuing to lean into its streaming service HBO Max, with an ad-supported tier recently launched, and a further international expansion planned.
“The way I think about HBO Max is that it is like our own cable bundle, and within that bundle there are programming services,” Bloys says. “HBO is in there, DC shows are in there, library shows are in there.”
And of course Max Originals will be there too. Bloys explained that there is a “demographic distinction we do use as a guide to make sense for what works where,” with Max Originals focused on young adult fare, more female-skewing content, and DC Comics programming like the upcoming Suicide Squad spinoff Peacemaker.
“We have separate programming teams, I oversee both and there is a lot of coordination between them,” Bloys says, adding that “HBO is not changing its programming mission and we continue to do what we do there.” Still, Bloys notes that some Max Originals (he name-checked breakout Hacks) could very well have ended up as HBO original shows.
“I am trying to look at it as a whole, not just what is good on HBO and what is good for a Max Original, but the entire offering, what makes sense, that’s what’s driving it,” he says.
Likewise, movies will continue to be a staple of HBO Max, though Bloys declined to comment on how many subscribers Warner Bros. films like In The Heights or Mortal Kombat drove to the service.
“I didn’t have to have any of the difficult conversations, so I was a beneficiary of having these movies on the service,” Bloys says.
“The good news about Game of Thrones is kind of that everything you do becomes news. Any script that is developed, or any idea that is pitched becomes news … and people assume that they are in production,” Bloys says. “The only Game of Thrones show in production is House of the Dragon. We have various other scripts in development, and like everything else we will make a decision based on scripts, what stories we like. So there is nothing else green-lit at the moment, but a lot of interesting development.”
Likewise, there are no plans for a Mare of Easttown season two … though that could change.
“I do think that people tend to think that those decisions are made like its ABC in the ’70s, where people are saying ‘we need more Mare! We need more Mare!’ and I promise you I am not pounding on the desk saying ‘get us more,’” Bloys says. “It really is a conversation with [creator] Brad [Ingelsby], with [star] Kate [Winslet]. I would rely on them coming to us saying ‘we think there’s more, here’s what it is.’ It is not a foregone conclusion that just because something does well that we have to do more. It really is case by case, but it starts with the creative team and what they want to do.”
But Bloys says that it is important to have a mix of ongoing series (like Succession, which will debut its third season this fall, Bloys says) and limited fare.
“The nice thing with an ongoing series is you don’t have to introduce viewers to it every year, and you have a built-in fanbase, so that is great when you have one working. With a limited series, because it is not ongoing, you tend to have [higher-profile] actors that are not looking to be tied up for five years,” he says. “I would not want a service that is only ongoing series, and I would not want a service that is only limited series. The number one job is keeping viewers and subscribers happy, and the way to do that is with the right mix of programming. So limited series will be a part of that, ongoing series will be a part of that, but I think you do try to balance so that you are not offering too much of one thing at a time.”
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