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As Bewkes puts it, Plepler “won’t steal your sandwich if you leave it on a desk. When it launched HBO Go in February 2010, it touted the app’s 600 hours of programming by imploring users to “Watch something you haven’t watched a million times before.” Courteney Monroe, the former SVP of marketing at HBO who’s now CEO of the National Geographic Channel, admits, “There was some implied digging there, that this was a better alternative” to Netflix.
That’s an important trait if you’re going to go around and work in the white spaces, between people who are at odds with each other or have well-established walls between them. At first, you could only use HBO Go by logging in via a web browser.
When Jeff Bewkes ran HBO, Plepler became Bewkes’s consigliere, giving advice on everything from marketing to corporate strategy.
What if the cable providers, who generate virtually all of HBO’s .4 billion in revenue, remain displeased by this run around them?
movies; shows from TBS, TNT, and TCM; a rich archive of cartoons; and, of course, everything from the “It’s Not TV” network.
The strategy was simple and bold, explains one source: “With better content than Netflix, what keeps you from taking all of Netflix’s customers and money?
” An HBO source denies the plan was that ambitious and disputes that the goal was for the company to construct its own Netflix.
Nonetheless, Berkes opened up a Seattle office and began hiring dozens of techies from Amazon, Microsoft, and Zynga.