HBO’s CEO On Virtual Reality And 'Sesame Street'
In the second part of Here & Now’s conversation with HBO CEO Richard Plepler, host Jeremy Hobson asks him if movies are still HBO’s bread and butter, what their plans are for virtual reality and what was behind the “Sesame Street” move.
Interview Highlights: Richard Plepler
Is HBO exploring virtual reality for the future?
“Sure, sure. Look technology for us has always been very much a part of our DNA. We were the first to go up on the satellite, we were the first to multiplex, HBO Go was one of the first digital platforms within the ecosystem and we are always looking at new dimensions of technology largely because, in particularly with VR, the artists themselves want to work with it. So as people come in and start talking about new innovations, whether it’s short form, more immersive programming, VR is going to play a real role in that, and I think the artists themselves are going to be the instigators of that process and we from the technology side will be ready to meet them at the door. We are already having some of those discussions.”
On HBO’s acquisition of ‘Sesame Street’ and concerns about its direction
“I think the programming is just superb, and remember, Sesame Workshop continues to make the programming, we in no way want to tinker with something that is as extraordinary as their voice and their unique work, so it’s still Sesame Workshop programming. What we did there, we thought was a kind of quintessential example of doing well and doing good as it was explained to us, the old model was simply not sustainable and they couldn’t make the amount of programming or indeed the programming itself that they wanted to to continue Sesame Street and so we came in and said, ‘so we’ll double the amount of programming, we’ll make the investment in the future of this extraordinary brand, we’ll create a window on HBO but then we’ll give it back for free to public television,’ which is exactly what we’re doing. So I think this is a terrific example of a public-private partnership where you have a win-win. We have more programming, we’re making a bigger investment that wouldn’t have been possible under the old model and then we’re returning it to public television so that even people without an HBO subscription can enjoy it.”
- Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO of HBO (Home Box Office, Inc.), part of Time Warner.
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