An HBO Without Hollywood Movies

Speaking of HBO, here’s Jessica Toonkel:

Other studios that now license their new movies to premium cable channels are expected to change their approach in future. Comcast’s NBCUniversal, which now licenses its movies to HBO, is likely to eventually shift its movies to a streaming service of its own that it plans to launch next year. (The HBO deal doesn’t expire until 2021, however.) Similarly, 20th Century Fox, which has a deal licensing its movies to HBO through 2022, was recently acquired by Disney. Former HBO chief Richard Plepler predicted last fall that Disney would eventually pull Fox movies off HBO in favor of its own service.
That will leave HBO with Warner Bros movies, which it will likely keep, although perhaps not exclusively. HBO’s parent, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, is also launching a streaming service and is expected to keep its Warner Bros movies for that offering as well as HBO.

I grew up with exactly one premium cable channel, and that channel was HBO. And we had it because of the movies. In the era long before Netflix, HBO was the way to watch movies “streaming” at home (though not on demand, of course) without having to go to the video store. Now it seems there will be basically no movies on HBO in the very near future (after the network said goodbye to another staple, boxing last year). 

And that’s probably fine in the short term given how well HBO has established themselves as the home of premium original content. But that space has also gotten far more crowded. And HBO seems awfully expensive for what it is, certainly without the movies… I’m getting pretty worried.


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