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Changes at HBO, AT&T’s Strategic Rationale, HBO’s Differentiation
For example, I wonder to what extent Stephenson has internalized what HBO’s competitive advantage is? For years it was the uniqueness of the company’s business model: when you make money by people choosing to pay explicitly, as opposed to negotiating to be part of a bundle, you are heavily incentivized to create shows that are unique and inspire strong reactions; it is better to be hated than ignored, because the former carries with it the possibility of love.

This, in turn, made HBO extremely attractive to creators: it was the one network where you could realize your vision completely, without having to water it down for the masses. This is something Plepler was very focused on; from a 2011 article in Slate:

Richard Plepler, co-president of HBO, has been with the company since 1992 and has overseen some of its greatest recent successes. When I ask him in his Manhattan office what marked the point at which he knew the network was doing something different, he points to an unlikely harbinger: The Larry Sanders Show. First broadcast in 1992, Garry Shandling’s foul-mouthed and devastating deconstruction of the TV chat show, in which celebrities parodied themselves, put out an important signal, says Plepler. “It was the tipping point. That was the show that made people notice we were doing something original and distinctive. Garry sent a flare up to the creative community, which said, ‘You can paint here, and you will be seen.’”
netflix  hbo  stratechery 
11 days ago by elrob

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