Comcast predicts channels like HBO and CBS may live to regret their moves to OTT and that subscribers will pay for TV and Internet packages for years to come.
Stephen B. Burke, chief executive of NBCUniversal, (part of Comcast), said he was “surprised” by announcements last week that both HBO and CBS would start subscription streaming services. He said that HBO risked “cannibalising” its existing, profitable business because the premium TV network would have a hard time luring new streaming subscribers while not cutting into its base of customers who pay for cable or satellite subscriptions.
“I don’t think distributing to consumers via the Internet is an easy thing to do,” Burke said. “I think it’s a voyage that if you’re successful like Netflix, can be a way to create a lot of value, but it’s not an easy thing to do.”
HBO and CBS executives have said that the new services would not cannibalise their business, but rather provide a new route to distribute their programming to people who don’t subscribe to traditional TV packages.
“We simply don’t believe that an HBO stand-alone product is anything other than a win-win for us and for our distributors,” Richard Plepler, chief executive of HBO, said in a statement. “This isn’t cannibalisation, it’s growth.”