HBO tech chief Berkes quits as network turns to MLB to launch new streaming service

HBO will outsource the technological backbone of its new streaming service to a white label solution provided by Major League Baseball Advanced Media and launch the new product in April, coinciding with the season premiere of Game of Thrones.

An exclusive Fortune report published Tuesday paints the decision as acrimonious within HBO, with company CTO Otto Berkes leaving in a huff after the Time Warner Inc. media company ditched plans to launch the new service through an in-house platform called "Maui."

Berkes was hired away from Microsoft in 2012 and reportedly built a Seattle-based fiefdom within HBO consisting of about 55 engineers and costing a rumored $100 million a year to operate.

Notably, Fortune published anonymous employee review from Glassdoor that adds to the intrigue: "The once great group, now called Digital Products, has been in decline since about 2012. Change had been desperately needed, but change we got is toxic and lacking unity, direction and clarity. Culture is now unfriendly and full of back stabbing done with a smile."

As for MLB Advanced Media, it already handles streaming platforms for clients including WWE Network. However, HBO will be its biggest client.

For more:
- read this Fortune story
- read this story from The Verge
- read this Variety story

Related links:
DirecTV deal hinders a la carte HBO, report says
HBO's Plepler: OTT service isn't 'either/or, it's additive'
It's really happening: HBO sets a la carte streaming plans for 2015
Comcast exec Burke's surprise at HBO and CBS announcements doesn't seem genuine

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