HBO is digging into its own stable of original series produced for its international channels in order to beef up the catalogs of its U.S. streaming and on-demand platforms.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler told the crowd at Mipcom in Cannes that, beginning in December, two original series each from HBO Europe, HBO Latin America and HBO Asia will be available on HBO Now, HBO Go and HBO on demand.
“Working with talented local writers, directors and producers, our international networks are creating programming that live up to the high quality storytelling that is expected of the HBO brand. This programming regularly outperforms even Game of Thrones’ record audience numbers in their respective markets. I am tremendously proud to bring such a selection of programs to our U.S. audience,” said Plepler in a statement.
Incoming shows include “Wasteland” (from the Czech Republic), “Pakt” (Poland), “The Teenage Psychic” (Taiwan), “Halfworlds” (Indonesia and Thailand), and “El Hipnotizador” and “La Secreta de las Parejas” from HBO Latin America.
Raiding the HBO international slate of programs should give HBO a way to load up its U.S. streaming platforms and keep pace with SVOD rivals without having to blow up its content budget. HBO’s $2-billion-per-year content budget is relatively small when compared with the $4.5 billion Amazon is spending and the $7 billion to $8 billion that Netflix anticipates spending in 2018. But Plepler has said that spending more for gobs of content is not the strategy HBO wants to pursue.
“There is a surfeit of content out there. Some of it’s very good. Some of it’s mediocre. Some of it’s not so good. And I think what our brand reflects, and what it has always reflected, is that when you come inside HBO you’re going to see something that stands for quality,” Plepler told CNBC. “Don’t get overwhelmed with more being the definition of excellence. More is not better, only better is better,” Plepler said, but he assured that HBO has more than enough resources to continue to compete for content.