HBO Plans Broadband Launch in '07


HBO initiated talks with affiliates about launching a broadband-video service sometime in 2007, according to Eric Kessler, president of sales and marketing for the pay channel.

Kessler would not reveal specific details about the service, expected to offer some of the same original series, specials and sports offerings currently distributed on HBO's subscription-video-on-demand channel.

He did say the network is focused on offering a value-added service for affiliates, not a direct-to-consumer play.

Viacom-owned Showtime offers shows for downloading on iTunes, and Liberty Media’s Starz distributes movies and original content to consumers via its Web-based Vongo service. But HBO has yet to partake in any digital media ventures beyond HBO On Demand.

Time Warner-owned HBO does have a deal with Cingular Wireless to offer content from such shows as Entourage and Sex and the City to mobile phones. And HBO last month teamed up with Time Warner-owned AOL to create an ad-supported broadband comedy Web site called This Just In.

“We believe we can do with the broadband platform what we did with the on-demand product for our partners,” Kessler said. “Our goal is to create a broadband product with our affiliates that would continue to increase our usage and the value of HBO to our subscribers.”