TCA: HBO Not Worried About Netflix

'Treme’ To Launch Final Episodes Dec. 1

HBO does not perceive over the top company Netflix as a competitive threat, according to HBO executives speaking Thursday at the network’s Television Critics Association summer tour presentation.

HBO CEO Richard Plepler said the network isn’t concerned about the emergence of Netflix, which last week garnered an historic 14 Emmy nominations for its original series House of Cards, Arrested Development and Hemlock Grove.

“We’ve been engaged in competition for all our lives,” Plepler said, adding that its 108 Emmy nominations is a testament to the network’s content strength and success. “We live very comfortable amidst competition.”

Also regarding Netflix, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said he finds “curious” Netflix’s decision not to release viewership numbers for its original programming. He added that ratings are a fair measurement tool to determine the success of a show.

Plepler also said HBO would not be interested in picking up syndication rights to Netflix’s political drama House Of Cards if and when those rights become available, saying the show has been “branded” on the streaming content service.

  On the programming side, Lombardo said the network will debut the last season of New Orleans-based drama Treme on Dec. 1, and will look to offer a third season of the Jeff Daniels-starrer The Newsroom. Lombardo also said he sees no end in sight for popular fantasy series Game of Thrones but has yet to make a decision on the eighth season of vampire-themed series True Blood

HBO will also most likely re-cast the late James Gandolfini’s role in the pilot drama Criminal Justice which the network recently greenlit. Gandolfini was set to appear in the series and had already filmed several scenes.

“I can’t imagine airing the pilot with James in it,” Lombardo said.

On the technology front, Plepler said HBO has no plans to offer its content on an a-la-carte basis, but said it will look to enhance its HBOGO subscriber-authenticated service with additional footage and other content extras.