Speaking in Los Angeles Thursday, HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler staunchly resisted claims that his company's soon-to-launch, a la carte, over-the-top programming service would "cannibalize" HBO's existing premium cable business.
"This isn't either/or, it's addititve," he told attendees and press at a morning gathering at the Paley Center for Media. (FierceCable did not attend the event.) "I don't think it's cannibalistic at all. We're going to have a big business [with pay-TV operators] and we're going to have a big business with new partners."
Plepler reiterated HBO's claims that there are somewhere between 10 million to 15 million homes that don't have pay-TV, but do have broadband and would like to subscribe to HBO.
Plepler said he's told HBO's pay-TV partners, "There's gold in the hills," and that "they agree there's an enormous opportunity out there."
Through its OTT venture, Plepler said he hopes that HBO learns to better establish a brand identity on its own and without the help of pay-TV partners. "We've relied way too much on our partners to market us," he said. "They have other responsibilities."
Addressing a range of other topics, Plepler doesn't believe viewing on mobile devices poses a mortal threat to the living room set, noting, "Who wouldn't prefer to watch [Game of Thrones] on a 50-inch flatscreen?"
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