What’s Time Warner’s International Distribution Strategy for HBO?



HBO’s production partnership with Sky

As English language content becomes more popular around the world, US (SPY) media companies such as Time Warner (TWX) are increasingly looking at international territories for expansion.

On April 20, 2017, Variety reported that Time Warner’s (TWX) HBO had entered into an agreement to co-produce high-end programming. 21st Century Fox (FOXA) has made a bid for Sky to convert its 39% stake to full ownership, and in December last year, it initiated the acquisition of Sky, a pay-TV operator in Europe, for $14.3 billion.

Sky is an important content distribution partner for Time Warner’s HBO. In international territories such as Western Europe, it has licensed HBO to third-party digital distributors such as 21st Century Fox’s Sky SVOD (subscription video on demand) service.

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According to Time Warner, a core part of its strategy in extending the HBO brand has been launching the HBO Now video streaming service in addition to distributing HBO’s programming through traditional pay-TV operators. The company has employed this strategy in international territories, including Latin America and Eastern Europe, and later in Asia.

HBO’s international distribution strategy

The company also believes that outside the United States (SPY), it has a strong position when it comes to the distribution of its content through AT&T’s (T) DIRECTV in Latin America and Mexico, as well as its linear television networks such as Turner Broadcasting System, HBO, and Warner Bros.

The company is currently focusing on extending its presence in Eastern Europe and Asia, as it’s present on a smaller scale in these territories. The company stated during its 2016 earnings call that over the last couple of years, it had been trying to capitalize on the trend of viewers watching content through SVOD and VOD (video on demand) platforms.


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