HBO to Increase Original Programming by 50 Percent, Time Warner CEO Says

“We’ve been really trying to evolve this in a sensible way,” Jeff Bewkes says of standalone service HBO Now

HBO is planning to increase its original programming by 50 percent in the coming year, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said Tuesday.

Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference, the exec said that the premium cable channel plans to increase the number of global original series hours to nearly 600, with a content budget of about $2 billion.

He also spoke about the network’s standalone digital service HBO Now, saying that the service will soon become available on Playstation and Xbox. “It’s doing what we want it to do,” he said. “We’ve been really trying to evolve this in a sensible way.”

HBO CEO Richard Plepler said last month that HBO Now had amassed nearly 800,000 subscribers since it’s launch last April.

“We’re not trying to pursue the lower price strategy that some of the syndication VOD services have,” Bewkes said, explaining that the bulk of the network’s spending on content goes to original series. “We don’t want, and we haven’t intended, to take that HBO brand and move it to a bulk syndicated offering.”

Discussing Warner Bros., Bewkes said that franchises and expected tentpole blockbusters like “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” would lead to “another record year.”

“This year it’s going to be led by theatrical,” he said. “We’ve got a big slate of new franchise films coming out, and as we have all seen, big tentpole global franchise films have an increasing share of box office.”

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