HBO negotiated the acquisition of Netflix in 2006


“His goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can be for us.”

That’s it Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos in 2013, shortly before his company was to jump on the bandwagon of Card House. Not the original text – a clear budget statement made by a famous director, with (at the time) a famous actor. Content in HBO format.

Even if you do not follow the media business, you probably know what happened next: I am Card House, Netflix has proven, very quickly, that it can produce good shows as paid TV shows. And then Netflix started making a lot of things, and consumers loved that, too. And now Netflix is ​​the company that everyone the media company wants to emulate – and that is the main reason why every major media company is test selection whether it needs to buy or sell to all other major media companies.

But it didn’t have to go that way. In 2005, two years before Netflix entered the advertising business, some HBO executives were pressuring the company to do the same. He wanted HBO to use the internet to sell subscriptions directly to consumers instead of selling their products to major TV retailers.

A year later, after giving the impression, HBO thought of another move that could rewrite media history: Some of its executives wanted HBO to buy Netflix, which at the time was a rental business with DVD worth about $ 1 billion.

Netflix now has a net worth of $ 300 billion. And HBO, which did not start selling its own Works like Netflix until 2015, they are under pressure to follow not only Netflix but also many mixed media players, such as Disney +, Peacock, and Amazon Prime Video. So far, the parent company HBO has changed three times in the last three years.

Both stories of the HBO election, which I have never seen, appear Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, a new history book written by journalist James Andrew Miller, who has previously worked on major media outlets as ESPN price and Saturday Night Live. This book is a 50-year-old story behind the scenes that shows the evolution of HBO-produced games like. Game of Thrones, as well as HBO history, with more AND– as a distortion of the plot. I spoke with Miller about all of this this week Recode Media section, which you can listen to at the bottom of this post or on the podcast platform of your choice.

But with eyebrows raised as in Miller’s case, you do not want to be overweight for another record.

Although HBO and Time Warner, their company born in 2005, decided to start selling HBO software directly to consumers at that time, it probably didn’t work out. At that time, most US homes did not have access to the Broadband Internet. Most importantly, HBO TV production companies relied on their distribution at the time to work hard to ensure that they did not migrate.

And buying Netflix in 2006 would not guarantee that HBO could own a Netflix company today. If anything, once Netflix was a big part of the entertainment conglomerate, they would certainly have made different decisions than they did when he was a young player trying to figure out how to compete with the entertainment conglomerates.

However, the stories Miller reveals in his book are helpful reminders that the stories we often hear about radio history – or history – are: stories, which are washed away by simplicity, depending on who tells them.

In this regard, HBO and Time Warner often portray themselves as Big Media Dinosaurs who are blinded by the future. And the fact that already Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes went on to speak under Netflix and the rise of the cable cutting cord, when both were growing up, they helped to reinforce the tension. But the fact that some HBO executives can see what is happening to their companies is confusing: Should they be commended for their intelligence, even if they could not take action?

About Bewkes, a well-supported Miller book: He says that by 2014, he also understood what Netflix and all other professional businesses were doing at his company, though he did not say openly: maybe we should find or combine with someone to get what we need to compete with the giants. about digital, or, if it fails, sell Time Warner. I told the board that in time, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon and maybe Apple would remove all media companies.

Bewkes discussed it again including its company with Apple, but in his statement, Apple did not do this: “I wish we could do that.”



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