Over 130 million people subscribe to HBO globally. Founded in 1972 with its first launch on a cable system serving Wilkes Barre Pennsylvania with the 1971 film, sometimes a Great Notion, starring Paul Newman and Henry Fonda, HBO was the world’s first “pay” tv service. Originally primarily airing movies over time it has evolved into one of the most successful and prolific producers of original shows.
From today’s Game of Thrones to the Sopranos and True Blood of the past HBO is known for some of the most watched original programming on television.
In 2015 HBO entered the “OTT” video market with the launch of their direct to consumer service HBO Now.
With over $2 billion dollars in annual income HBO has a strong capital base for expansion.
But what about the competition from Netflix and Amazon?
Netflix has been spending billions of dollars creating original programming for broadcast on their service. As of April 2017 Netflix was reporting in excess of 99 million subscribers worldwide.
But while most of HBO’s distribution is through deals with cable operators, virtually all of Netflix’s subscribers are direct.
Amazon is also a formidable competitor having developed a video service for their Prime members which number close to 100 million globally. Amazon’s annual fee of $99 is less than Netflix and HBO and includes free two day shipping as well as a host of other free benefits.
What is it like to Work at HBO:
Here are some of the comments posted by former employees on Glassdoor:
“Great brand, vast growth opportunities and work culture is empowering.”
“Good Life/Work balance (depending on your boss), incredible shows & content, mostly great people. If you have the right supervisor, working at HBO is excellent.”
“Like a country club, with gym, huge catered cafeteria and theater”
But not all comments are positive:
“Leadership is sorely lacking and has been for the past decade. The edge that created the brand and business model was lost when fear of competition, especially from Netflix, started to drive decision making process.”
“Little to no room for career growth. Risk adversed upper management. Not a lot of opportunity to see your ideas come to fruition. Some depts are toxic, many don’t work well together, which slows down productivity.”
“Because of this confluence of factors: high entry competition, high salaries and benefits, low challenge, the company gets a lot of overqualified highly intelligent people who are bored out of their minds but can’t justify quitting.”
Looks like HBO is going to grow through transformation. Its ability to grow its direct business while trying to maintain its current base will determine its ability to compete and succeed.
So HBO could be a great place to find success by becoming a catalyst of its transformation.