Fantastic, deeply reported piece for CNBC by Alex Sherman. Details of a meeting between AT&T CEO John Stankey and longtime HBO CEO Richard Plepler that took place in December 2018:
According to five people familiar with the meeting, Plepler laid
out a simple path forward:
First, give HBO more money to spend on content.
Second, augment the Cinemax premium TV channel with more
family-friendly original, library, and licensed children’s
Third, sell HBO and Cinemax together for a couple dollars more
than HBO — around $17 per month.
Fourth, hammer out a deal with Comcast, the largest U.S. cable
company, allowing the broadband distributor to sell HBO Go
directly to broadband-only customers.
Finally, and most importantly, don’t blow HBO up.
Plepler’s team estimated this plan would guarantee $7.5 billion in
annual revenue plus future upside depending on the success of the
Stankey heard them out. Then, he ignored their advice. Stankey had
bigger ambitions for streaming video. Less than three months
later, Plepler announced he was leaving WarnerMedia.