HBO Signs With MLB Advanced Media for Streaming, Causes Firestorm
HBO caused an in-house firestorm yesterday when it announced that it will partner with MLB Advanced Media to provide the streaming for its upcoming online service. HBO was already creating an in-house streaming platform, called Project Maui, so signing with a third-party was a giant no-confidence vote for its own staff. As a result, HBO's chief technology officer, Otto Berkes resigned immediately. The internal memo that he wrote to his staff is now online.
Berkes had been HBO's CTO since 2012. In his time at the company, he co-created the Xbox, led development on HBO Go, and was developing Project Maui. HBO's streaming has been less than perfect, however, with much publicized outages during the True Detective finale and the Game of Thrones season four premiere. Executives had concerns that the platform would be ready in time for the OTT launch.
“This was not a judgment of the team’s work quality or deliverables but rather a bet that an existing streaming service could deliver the needed product faster and at lower risk than Maui,” wrote Mark Thomas, senior vice president of technology program management, and Drew Angeloff, senior vice president of digital products, in an internal memo.
HBO's over-the-top service will likely debut in April, timed for the start of the fifth season of Game of Thrones.
MLB Advanced Media handles the streaming for other premium streamers, such as the WWE Network.
Financial terms were not disclosed and the full schedule has not been revealed, but fans will be able to enjoy the streams free from local blackouts.
MLBAM will pay the NHL $100 million per year for the deal, and will hold rights to much of the NHL's platforms and game distribution.
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