HBO plans to divert content from TV platform BAMTech: report

Silicon Valley on iPad HBO Now app
"Silicon Valley" is one of many popular HBO programs. Image: HBO

HBO wants out of its contract with Disney’s streaming television platform BAMTech, according to a New York Post article citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.

HBO may launch its own TV streaming option in the next year, the Post wrote, given recent investments in developing a streaming platform. It currently streams on several back-end platforms and could benefit from consolidation.

Furthermore, if and when the AT&T-Time Warner merger goes through, HBO’s contract with Disney could potentially be terminated sooner rather than later. Time Warner is HBO’s parent company.

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The Post reported that HBO stated that “it is very happy with BAMTech’s service.”

HBO has two streaming options—HBO Now and HBO Go—that work on multiple devices and offer all of HBO’s programming. The direct-to-consumer HBO Now service is available via an internet subscription with standalone, streaming television shows and movies for $14.99 per month, while HBO Go is included in TV packages from pay-TV providers.

Related: HBO for $5 a month? AT&T’s DirecTV Now offerings ‘aren’t going to make any money’

HBO Now counted roughly 1 million subscribers in March, 11 months after its initial launch, Jeff Bewkes, Time Warner CEO, said at the time. That figure, however, was much lower than some analyst projections: Some analysts had pegged HBO Now's subscriber count as high as 1.9 million. 

"It's a successful product," Bewkes said at the time. "We're going to push on it."

However, HBO Now may not yet be a major profit center. According to a Bloomberg report last month, HBO is looking to renegotiate carriage deals with major pay-TV operators. The report said that the reworked carriage agreements will be designed to drive the majority of growth for HBO, outpacing the performance of its HBO Now streaming service.

As for BAMTech, the company operates streaming services for a wide number of players besides HBO, including WWE and the National Hockey League, reaching 7.5 million subscribers through the platforms it services and operates.

And Disney confirmed in August that it spent $1 billion for a 33% stake in OTT streaming shop BAMTech, which spun off from Major League Baseball Advanced Media as part of the transaction. 

BAMTech, Disney also said, will be leveraged to launch what Disney calls a “new ESPN-branded multi-sport direct-to-consumer service.”

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