Bad economy isn't hitting Time Warner's HBO
Though the economy may be pounding entertainment companies left and right, Time Warner's pay cable channel HBO so far has been immune to the turmoil, its top executives said this afternoon.
Speaking at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena, HBO Co-President Richard Plepler said the company's strong DVD sales as well as little evidence of subscribers' dropping the service to save a few bucks has the network feeling "cautiously optimistic" that it can weather the storm.
HBO currently has about 30 million subscribers, up slightly from a year ago. It is also expanding its online presence with HBO Go, its rebranded broadband offering. The service, which is being tested in 5,000 Comcast homes, will offer 650 hours' worth of HBO content. Plepler said HBO was talking with other distributors to offer HBO Go as well. To access programming online, consumers will have to prove that they already pay to get HBO. Content will be accessible on any device inside or outside the home.
While the dollars are still rolling in, HBO's other co-president, Michael Lombardo, said the channel was not looking to increase its programming budgets in the near future. He did say that the new series "Hung" would be back for a second season next summer along with "True Blood" and "Entourage."
-- Joe Flint
For more on HBO's press tour check out Show Tracker.