Plepler: HBO Now Has Strongest Quarter Yet

Network chief says ‘constructive conversations’ with Hulu on possible carriage
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Home Box Office chairman and CEO Richard Plepler told analysts Wednesday its standalone direct to consumer offering HBO Now had its strongest quarter yet, but stopped sort of offering actual subscriber numbers.

On a conference call with analysts to discuss second quarter results, Plepler said that HBO Now, launched in April 2015, had “substantial growth” in the quarter. The service had about 800,000 customers at the end of 2015.

“HBO Now has enormous momentum,” Plepler said on the call.

Related:Time Warner Q2 Revenue Dips 5%

He added that growth is expected to continue with new programming coming to the service, including Vice News and a new offering from former Daily Show host Jon Stewart. 

HBO Now also recently launched in Latin America and is expanding to Brazil, Argentina and Spain later this year. 

HBO Now’s performance comes on the heels of CBS announcing that it had about 2 million customers for its over-the-top offerings CBS All Access and Showtime OTT. In its second quarter earnings call July 28, CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves said subscribership at both services was about 1 million each.

Plepler said that HBO also is in talks with Hulu about possibly bundling the service in sales or marketing on the online video service. Time Warner announced a carriage deal with Hulu this morning, and also said it has taken a 10% equity stake in the subscription VOD service.

“We are having constructive conversations,” Plepler said. “We expect they will continue.”

On the call, Turner chairman and CEO John Martin said the Hulu carriage arrangement is similar to others the programmer has with other virtual multichannel video programming distributors like Sling TV, Sony Vue and others.

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