Bob Greenblatt is a former executive at NBC but was appointed to head up AT&Ts Direct-to-Consumer business just this week. He is also the chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment, which means he will head up the likes of HBO, TBS, TNT, and truTV, taking over for the recently-resigned HBO CEO Richard Plepler.
In a press release, WarnerMedia announced, “This change will provide the company with the agility and flexibility needed to build WarnerMedia’s brands across a variety of evolving distribution models with a more coordinated approach to the company’s view, it’s breaking down walls and a siloed way of things that had stretched on for too long.”
And while he might be new to the position, he has a seasoned perspective on what the viewing public wants. Or, at least, he thinks he does.
This week, Greenblatt went after its most direct streaming competition with extreme criticisms of streaming giant Netflix. In a recent interview, he argued, “Netflix doesn’t have a brand. It’s just a place you go to get anything—it’s like Encyclopedia Britannica. That’s a great business model when you’re trying to reach as many people on the planet as you can.”
But although this is an attempt to criticize Netflix, it seems to quite accurately describe not only the company’s business model, but also their strategy for growth. At first the company may have offered access to the widest catalog of films, but Netflix has really find its fan-base after they started to produce their own content. And this is likely what HBO—and Greenblatt—are trying to deter viewers from appreciating.
You see, HBO was also originally a way to watch Hollywood movies at home and they branched out to make their own original programming. And now Hulu—which was originally a way to watch network television on the internet—has expanded with original programming; and Amazon’s streaming service also offers original programming. Disney and NBCUniversal are also set to launch their own services.
At the end of the day, then, the long-awaited merger should help to poise these media companies continue to gain and hold ground in this increasingly more competitive marketplace. And with that, Greenblatt also confides, “It’s getting to be a crowded field. We think there’s room to carve out a very good consumer base for us.”