As far as HBO licensing select library shows like Ballers to Netflix, a move that went against the industry’s prevailing strategy from roughly 2018 to 2022, Bloys said he is “comfortable” with it.
“We have to be protective of the shows that we have that are successful, but I’ve worked in television long enough and syndication used to be the pot of gold, the brass ring. That meant that your show was going to go on and have a life after its initial run, and a life for decades,” he said. “The idea of selling a show outside of your ecosystem wasn’t an unusual idea. At HBO we did it a lot. Band of Brothers was on the History network, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex and the City. We basically sold everything.”
Streaming started off as an exclusive game, with companies clawing back rights to major properties in order to guard exclusives, but Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav and others have articulated a different strategy, citing in part the need to keep cash flowing. And in terms of Max circulation, there can be additional benefits. “What we’ve seen so far is that any show we put on, we’re seeing an uptick on Max,” Bloys said. “So, it has been helpful. That said, I don’t think you’re going to see more recent shows. I don’t think you’re going to see the shows I presented here anywhere else until years later, and that’s the syndication model. I am comfortable with it, and so far it seems to be working.”
Bloys began the event with a 2-minute mea culpa for setting up fake Twitter accounts aimed at trolling journalists with unfavorable views of HBO programming. In the Q&A, he also weighed in on the notion of superhero fatigue, arguing that versatility of tone can keep viewers engaged.
MORE to come …