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How HBO Aims to Improve the Global SVOD Experience

Learn more about the global OTT market at Streaming Media's next event.

Watch the complete presentation from Streaming Media West, B101. Subscription Fatigue: Too Much of a Good Thing?, in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Jason Thibeault: As you probably all have heard the news Disney+ comes out. They have a bunch of technical issues right out of the gate. Streaming to a lot of people simultaneously is super-hard. What'd say, it was like 4.8 million?

Jason Press: Concurrent.

JT: I mean, that's crazy. That's a crazy number of people wanting content at the same time. So, looking back on that history and where you're at now, what would you say, are maybe like what's the big technical challenge that you guys see Max facing, sort of building out a platform that can do all of that really well?

JP: I think there's a few technical challenges that we have ahead of us. Number one, we're setting up a global platform, and so HBO, for the most part had been, for HBO Go and Now, it was domestically distributed. There were incarnations of HBO Go and Now globally, but they were really separate, kind of silo'd experiences. The current strategy and technical strategy that we're on right now is a singular, global platform. And so we're working on developing the technology to support a singular, globalized platform. Again, we'll work with our counterparts around the globe, to make sure it's regionalized and localized and all appropriate regulatory currency matters are concerned are dealt with and privacy and data. All those things are some of the technical complexities that we have to build out as it relates to a global platform. The addition is there's some new capabilities that we haven't had before. So user profiles, which we announced at investor day. We are gonna have profile-based audiences. And so we need to build out some of those new capabilities and services and those have the opportunity for some sort of risk, an issue that we're gonna have to address.

JT: Obviously it would seem to most people that there are some me-too, some necessary table-stakes for any platform like this. So, profile would seem like one of those. Hulu has profiles, Disney+ has profiles. Netflix has profiles. Obviously HBO has such a rich history in content, what would you say are some of the ways that you think HBO Max is gonna differentiate from those other competitors besides just the content. Obviously, there's gonna be content that you can't get anywhere else but HBO Max.

JP: Absolutely. For sure, we have some of the very best content on the planet. But how do we allow customers to easily find and access that content? And so we're rolling out something called curated by humans. Yes, there are gonna be recommendations and algorithm-based information that we'll use the underline data that we know about, but we also thinks it's really powerful and important to have a human curation approach to it. We're gonna have this notation of its content about content. And you sort of have to see it to understand it, but we're gonna actually be working with celebrities and influencers and they're gonna help us tell the stores about their content experience as they were consuming those shows and movies. And we're actually gonna be putting that up as a part of the offering. It'll be there in the goodness of time.

May not be there exactly at launch, but in the goodness of time we're gonna have a human curation story about how to find content. And part is because I think consumers are a little bit tired of the fact that, hey, how did this recommendation get to me? Especially when you're watching with other family members on a given profile. You may see things that weren't necessarily appropriate to you. And so we thinking having this idea of a human curation and a sort of set of recommendations that you can start to follow.

So this brings me to the second feature and capability. Which is what we're calling co-viewing. It's this idea where, when you do have families, like in my household, I have 3 children and we do watch together. And so how do we ensure that my recommendations, or my wife's recommendations aren't necessarily confused because we're watching content with our nine year or our 12-year-old. What we're doing is, we're developing a feature around co-viewing so that we can create a unique set of recommended content for those co-viewing conditions. And we can also ensure that we know who's watching so that when we do come up with those set of recommendations they're appropriate to the fact that this is a co-viewing experience and not something that was done individually. So those are 2 of sort of the capabilities and ways that we're gonna allow consumers really to find content not in 9 minutes but hopefully in 90 seconds.

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