Finance

Liberty’s John Malone sees HBO losing out in the streaming wars

John Malone chairman of Liberty Media

Michael Kovac | Getty Images | Vanity Fair)

Liberty Media Chairman John Malone has some reservations about HBO’s bid to enter an extremely crowded streaming market.

AT&T’s WarnerMedia announced last month its HBO Max streaming service will launch in the U.S. in May of 2020. Starting with about 10,000 hours of content, the cable company is slated to compete with a slew of monthly subscription services including Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Lionsgate‘s Starz, Apple TV+, just to name a few.

“I don’t see the growth for HBO in going this route,” Malone spoke to CNBC’s David Faber in an exclusive interview on Thursday. “I really have trouble seeing HBO being able to get the scale to be able to be at the top of the chart in terms of direct consumer subscribers.”

Malone believes HBO would have a hard time attracting new subscribers and the company also doesn’t have the capacity yet to become an international player.

“The way I look at it is in the U.S., if you wanted HBO, you already have HBO. So I don’t see they gain a lot of new customers,” Malone said.

“They certainly don’t have the budget to defend and protect their content supply long-term, and they don’t own the rights to international distribution and it will take them years to develop and hold onto enough content to be a real player internationally,” he added.

AT&T aims to reach 75 to 90 million subscribers by 2025, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey said previously. The company said it will spend $4 billion over the next three years building HBO Max.

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