HBO executives say that they're hoping to secure distribution deals for HBO Go holdouts Time Warner Cable and Cablevision in the near future.
HBO co-president Richard Plepler told TV critics attending the network's TCA executive panel session Thursday that the two MSOs are the biggest holdouts for distributing the subscriber-authenticated service, which has garnered more than 3.7 million downloads since the HBO Go app was launched for iPads and mobile phones this past April.
"We wish we had the leverage the power to move Time Warner Cable, but as you know we have nothing to do with Time Warner Cable," Plepler said, in an allusion to HBO's being owned by Time Warner Inc. "They're negotiating the deal ... I don't think there's any question the consumers are making it clear to the field that they're not happy that they can't get it ... we're working as fast as we can to close the deal."
Earlier Thursday, Time Warner Cable president Rob Marcus said during an earnings call "we've said repeatedly that we think HBO Go is attractive and we'd like to deliver that to customers. We're merely working through the structure of the deal to make that happen."
Plepler said that less than about half of the audience for the network's top shows like Game Of Thrones and True Blood comes premiere night viewing, which means viewers are watching the shows at their convenience through other HBO-distributed platforms.
"People do not feel pressured that they have to watch Boardwalk [Empire] or True Blood or Game Of Thrones on Sunday," Plepler said. "It gives viewers flexibility and that's a wonderful part of the value proposition of the network. [HBO Go] is going to be an increasing opportunity for people to get product as we go from 80% to 100% of the country."
HBO programming president Michael Lombardo added the pay service is able to better take advantage of alternative viewing platforms than the broadcast networks, which rely on advertising as a major part of their economic model.
"What our experience demonstrates is that there is an appetite for people watching shows when they want to watch shows, as opposed to people who enjoy appointment viewing the shows, and I'm sure the networks are aware of that," he said. "They're trying to figure out how to take advantage of that."
On the content side, Lombardo said the network will look to launch its horse racing-themed series Luck sometime in January 2012.
Also, Lombardo said the network will look to resurrect its series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency into one or two stand-alone TV movies.
The series, which starred Jill Scott as the owner of the only female-owned detective agency in Botswana, aired on HBO in 2009.