It's been a nice ride HBO

ATT: "hey HBO, you know how you've been incredibly successfully at creating high quality content by having a focused strategy and not overextending? ... what if ... you didn't."

ugh

https://nytimes.com/2018/07/08/business/media/hbo-att-merger.html
A_Ron_HubbardElisa
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Comments

  • HatorianHatorian Dagobah
    dont think this is completely a bad thing. I mean HBO passed up Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, TLOR series, etc. I wouldn't be mad at all if this guy is saying "hey, we know we fucked up and lost out big on some major shows, I am not going to let that happen on my watch"
  • Idk I think the article makes a good point about the market realities: they need to compete with netflix because cable subscribers will inevitably decline. 

    Also, HBO has as many misses as they do hits (arguably many more), and Netflix, despite the glut of shit they put out, probably hits on just as many shows that generate a comparable level of social relevance, if that's an indication of ratings, if that means anything nowadays.

    So, if HBO tones down a bit the budget for "high-art" television like Westworld and produces a few more things with the extra cash, I imagine some of their lower-budget stuff would be a sight better than some of what they've produced over the last few years.  Basically I don't think this is the end of the world.
    rhcoop
  • russkellyrusskelly Indianapolis
    This is very concerning, but I don't know what they want. I don't remember the last time I tuned in to HBO proper on cable. I've been using HBOGo and now HBONow since it's been available. I really hope they don't fuck up HBO.
    Elisa
  • MrXMrX CO
    edited July 9
    I think people are most concerned about this quote:

    “I want more hours of engagement. Why are more hours of engagement important? Because you get more data and information about a customer that then allows you to do things like monetize through alternate models of advertising as well as subscriptions, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow’s world.”

    I get that there are market realities that they need to face, and agree with others it's not like they've been batting 1.000 or anything, but if AT&T pushes them too hard in that direction it could backfire. Also it seems like some HBO employees were concerned enough to leak the audio to the Times.


  • Man, regardless of whether or not this makes business sense, I fucking hate "townhalls" and corporate executives.

    It sounds like they see a viable streaming platform being underutilized in HBO Go/Now and want to compete with the other big guys on volume. I don't know, Netflix seems to be making it work, but their catalog output already seems a lot different than when they developed some of their big shows like Stranger Things, OITNB, House of Cards etc.
  • This is to be expected and what was said in the article makes sense for long term viability. If they remain a “boutique” house they will be buried by NetFlix and the other services. I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a bad thing either. What they want is more quality programming that expands beyond Sunday night. The idea put forth is that they need “more hours of engagement”. If they can keep the quality high, but expand beyond a small stable of programming, that’s good for everyone. Will everything be a hit?, of course not, but if something that isn’t great, gets someone to watch something that is, then it’s a big win. 
    DoubleA_Ronken hale
  • That article made me laugh. Having the AT&T execs fix HBO fills me with as much confidence as having Comcast fix the Middle East. 
    russkellyphoenyx1023ghm3A_Ron_Hubbardalexander.klassen
  • redlancerredlancer Seattle
    CapeGabe said:
    ...fills me with as much confidence as having Comcast fix the Middle East. 

    That could actually work. After 2000 years they would finally be united against a common enemy.

    Doctor_Nickken haledarwinfeeshyCapeGabeA_Ron_HubbardFlukesasmallcatakritenbrink
  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    edited July 10
    Who knows what happens, but much of that dialogue makes my stomach turn.

    “We need hours a day,” Mr. Stankey said, referring to the time viewers spend watching HBO programs. “It’s not hours a week, and it’s not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes.”

    Continuing the theme, he added: “I want more hours of engagement. Why are more hours of engagement important? Because you get more data and information about a customer that then allows you to do things like monetize through alternate models of advertising as well as subscriptions, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow’s world.”
    Mr. Plepler tried to pin down Mr. Stankey on the question of how much AT&T planned to invest. Without specifying any certain amount, Mr. Stankey said, “I do believe there needs to be stepped-up investment.”

    Mr. Plepler interjected: “Let’s give him a hand for that simple sentence! That simple sentence deserves a hand!”

    “Also,” Mr. Stankey said, “we’ve got to make money at the end of the day, right?”
    “We do that,” Mr. Plepler responded, to scattered applause.
    “Yes, you do,” Mr. Stankey said. “Just not enough.”
    “Oh, now, now, be careful,” Mr. Plepler said.
    During the talk, Mr. Plepler seemed willing to make changes. “I’ve said, ‘More is not better, only better is better,’ because that was the hand we had,” he said, as Mr. Stankey looked on. “I’ve switched that, now that you’re here, to: ‘More isn’t better, only better is better — but we need a lot more to be even better.’”

    Blech.

    Apart from that, I'm not sure becoming another Netflix is the smartest move when Hulu and Amazon are already moving that direction.

    We're seeing the death of chain restaurants and brand loyalty because not everyone wants a bunch of the same anymore. I don't want the TV version of a Big Mac, I want my grass-fed, lovingly prepared hour long drama. Can't be certain but I'm pretty sure this is why all the Netflix Marvel shows are 13 episodes when they should be less or at least pushed to fill those 13 hours better. They're just good enough to keep people on the hook. Quality wise, they desperately need a guiding hand.

    It's not a death sentence. Stranger Things is nearly perfect and shows it can be done, but it's kind of the exception at Netflix. I'm not even a big HBO fanatic. I think FX is a better network, and from what I understand they're even more curated and guided than HBO.
  • edited July 10
    chrisk said:

    Blech
    We're seeing the death of chain restaurants and brand loyalty because not everyone wants a bunch of the same anymore. I don't want the TV version of a Big Mac, I want my grass-fed, lovingly prepared hour long drama. Can't be certain but I'm pretty sure this is why all the Netflix Marvel shows are 13 episodes when they should be less or at least pushed to fill those 13 hours better. They're just good enough to keep people on the hook. Quality wise, they desperately need a guiding hand.
    I just don't see all the effusive love for HBO, so I wanted to think about their best stuff.  What were their finest grass-fed dramas the last few years?  Ongoing: Game of Thrones, Leftovers, The Deuce; Miniseries: Big Little Lies, The Night Of, Show Me a Hero, and Young Pope (which was a co-production w European channels that also work with Netflix).

    That's seven series that I would consider really high quality (except The Night Of, imo), but aside from the bloated GoT, I could easily see the other series being produced by Netflix or Amazon, and with Amazon throwing in on Lord of the Rings, even the budget isn't so distinguishing anymore.  Can you really say that Netflix hasn't had 7 shows of comparable quality over the last few years?    The exec in the article is right.  When I'm killing time, there's ZERO chance I open HBO before Netflix.  HBO I go to once a week for a few months a year, and that's pretty much it.

    ETA: I'd personally rank Vinyl up there with their best...forgot about that one, although its swift cancellation is a pretty good case against HBO's "bet heavily on a small number of shows" strategy.

    Also, I'm not even talking comedies and documentaries, in which Netflix has surpassed HBO handily, in my opinion.
  • @ken hale HBO has a stable of quality programming over the years, not just recently. Here are some off the top of my head:

    The Wire
    Treme
    Sopranos
    Oz
    Carnivale
    Band of Brothers
    The Pacific
    Deadwood
    Rome
    True Blood (its highs were higher than its lows)
    the Lary Sanders Show
    Boardwalk Empire
    Generation Kill

    These are just the ones that have aired in the past and I can name without looking up the list. I’m not sure NetFlix can match up to its stable of shows prestige wise just yet. I’m not sure NetFlix has had 7 shows that have stuck with me (they haven’t had enough history yet) to touch what HBO has done and is doing. It’s all personal preference however and NetFlix may serve the needs more of other people. 

    JaimieTken hale
  • Alkaid13Alkaid13 Georgia
    I mean this is a very quantifiable issue it’ll just take a while for the data points. Come this time 4 years from now we should be able to objectively determine if AT&T helped save HBO or if they should in fact eat all the dicks for ruining HBO. 
    Flukes
  • Alkaid13 said:
    I mean this is a very quantifiable issue it’ll just take a while for the data points. Come this time 4 years from now we should be able to objectively determine if AT&T helped save HBO or if they should in fact eat all the dicks for ruining HBO. 
    From a business perspective sure, but making HBO financial successful and ruining the content aren't mutually exclusive. Fox News, for example, gets a lot of eyeballs.
  • chriskchrisk Indianapolis
    And per the article, HBO isn't exactly hurting.
    HBO has, in fact, been a consistent moneymaker. Over the last three years, while allocating more than $2 billion a year to its programming, the network has made nearly $6 billion in profit.


  • Doctor_NickDoctor_Nick Terminus
    The thing is, a streaming platform isn't say General Motors, where the cost savings of putting the Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet on the same platform and sharing engines was too strong to resist.  It's highly possible you could have your Netflix Drek Division and your Netflix Platinum division.  They're commissioning shows independently, just because you have the Adam Sandler stuff doesn't mean you can't also get something really good made.  Do you think Netflix would pass on Mad Men and Breaking Bad the way HBO did? 
  • I just think that the model hasn't been vetted yet. There was a time when all of the limited Netflix originals could be counted on to be top tier shows. Now it's an embarrassment of riches with a lot of garbage mixed in and, to me, has a seemingly lower ceiling.
  • All the ChickensAll the Chickens Birmingham, AL
    RE: the idea of "Netflix squashing HBO"

    Are average people really having to choose between subscribing to Netflix or HBO? With so many people saving money by cutting cords and paying $30 - $40 for streaming TV services like YouTubeTV, Playstation Vue, Sling TV, etc., it allows you to also subscribe to other streaming services like Netflix and HBO all at the same time while still paying far less than what they were paying each month just for cable or satellite 5 years into their contract.

    Most people I know who have Netflix also have HBO and/or some other streaming services, and I'm not talking about wealthy people. And the more and more that people choose devoting their leisure time to sitting on their ass watching TV (which is the trend going forward), the less they will have any issues with having subscriptions to many different TV streaming platforms.


  • KingKobra said:
    This is to be expected and what was said in the article makes sense for long term viability. If they remain a “boutique” house they will be buried by NetFlix and the other services. I wouldn’t necessarily say this is a bad thing either. What they want is more quality programming that expands beyond Sunday night. The idea put forth is that they need “more hours of engagement”. If they can keep the quality high, but expand beyond a small stable of programming, that’s good for everyone. Will everything be a hit?, of course not, but if something that isn’t great, gets someone to watch something that is, then it’s a big win. 
    KingKobra said:
    @ken hale HBO has a stable of quality programming over the years, not just recently. Here are some off the top of my head:

    The Wire
    Treme
    Sopranos
    Oz
    Carnivale
    Band of Brothers
    The Pacific
    Deadwood
    Rome
    True Blood (its highs were higher than its lows)
    the Lary Sanders Show
    Boardwalk Empire
    Generation Kill

    These are just the ones that have aired in the past and I can name without looking up the list. I’m not sure NetFlix can match up to its stable of shows prestige wise just yet. I’m not sure NetFlix has had 7 shows that have stuck with me (they haven’t had enough history yet) to touch what HBO has done and is doing. It’s all personal preference however and NetFlix may serve the needs more of other people. 


    I couldn't disagree more. No one but AT&T wants HBO to become Netflix. You cannot maintain the same level of quality while dramatically scaling up production. HBO is about to go through a major corporate culture shift, and this is never not reflected in the product. The turnover at HBO will likely skyrocket shortly. And even if most try to stick through it, he's basically told them as directly as possible that he's about to make their life a living hell. If you created a good quality product and then you suddenly needed to sextuple production, how long do you think that same quality is sustainable?

    I highlighted the titles above because those are the ones that in my opinion are the only ones a company like AT&T would acknowledge as successful, and BoB was a miniseries. 

    Some of those shows you listed are highly regarded but no one really watched them (The Wire, Deadwood, Rome). Others were solid but not quite breakouts (The Pacific, Boardwalk Empire, Generation Kill). 

    That's ~3 shows of undisputed success... over two decades. But let's just say it's 5-6. That's only one high profile success every 3-4 years, but the reason HBO is so highly regarded is precisely because these shows were not drowned out in hundreds of other shitty productions. The star shows shined brighter. 

    From the article:

    Mr. Stankey also said that the network’s number of subscribers — 40 million in the United States, out of 142 million worldwide — was not going to cut it. HBO will have to find a way “to move beyond 35 to 40 percent penetration to have this become a much more common product,” he said, referring to its current market size.

    ...

    “Also,” Mr. Stankey said, “we’ve got to make money at the end of the day, right?”

    “We do that,” Mr. Plepler responded, to scattered applause.

    “Yes, you do,” Mr. Stankey said. “Just not enough.”

    ...

    But he cautioned that HBO’s employees would notice a change in tempo and metabolism in the days ahead. “I suspect if we’re in a situation where we’re going to be investing heavier, that means that there’s going to be more work for all of you to do — and you’re going to be working a little bit harder,” Mr. Stankey said.

    After comparing the next 12 months to a “dog year,” he invoked another metaphor.

    “You will work very hard, and this next year will — my wife hates it when I say this — feel like childbirth,” he said.


    I mean, fuck. What else do you need to know? This charlatan does. not. give. a. fuck. about creating quality and prestige, he just bought it. Now he's going to mine every gram of that cachet to join the consumer espionage party by shitting out as much as possible and tracking everything about its consumption to sold off.
    phoenyx1023
  • @ghm3 notice I said quality, not “popular”. I was responding to that portion. HBO shows outside of Game of Thrones have never really been “popular”. Success means different beings to different people. Some want numbers and some want quality, it’s rare that we see the two intersect. At this point it’s just a lot of talk, we will see how things fall out. IMO it’s pretty simple and i always vote with my wallet/viewership. It would suck if we see a general decline in quality, but I’d just stop watching current shows, I’m not going to get upset about something when I can easily chose something else to watch/buy. 
  • RE: the idea of "Netflix squashing HBO"

    Are average people really having to choose between subscribing to Netflix or HBO? With so many people saving money by cutting cords and paying $30 - $40 for streaming TV services like YouTubeTV, Playstation Vue, Sling TV, etc., it allows you to also subscribe to other streaming services like Netflix and HBO all at the same time while still paying far less than what they were paying each month just for cable or satellite 5 years into their contract.

    Most people I know who have Netflix also have HBO and/or some other streaming services, and I'm not talking about wealthy people. And the more and more that people choose devoting their leisure time to sitting on their ass watching TV (which is the trend going forward), the less they will have any issues with having subscriptions to many different TV streaming platforms.


    I’m not sure the members of BladMove are really the eyes they are after. From what ARon said on a recent cast the membership skews older (30’s+). The NetFlix counter is for teens and those in their 20’s who don’t own TVs and or do much of their streaming via mobile devices/laptops/etc. from the younger people I know/follow on social media all they talk about is NetFlix. This “engagement” (or talking about it on social media and various other platforms on the net) is what AT&T seems to be looking for. For the majority of shows I don’t “engage”, but I’m older and sometimes like just enjoying a show for what it is. For those that are younger it seems they engage on multiple levels about what they are watching, which in turn gets other people to engage. While HBO has quality programming outisde of Game of Thrones and possibly Westworld (you might throw Oliver’s show in there as a positive)  I’d say the “engagement” is centered around a small circle of people and doesn’t really “break out”. This in turn makes it more difficult to market or create product placements/merchandise for. 

    Im one of the people who subscribes to NetFlix, HBO, Showtime, DirecTV Now, and Amazon Prime. So I’d fit into your particular bucket, but I know many younger folks who don’t subscribe to HBO, since they have NetFlix and usually just illegally stream it (they can’t afford cable or don’t want cable). I’m not even sure they know that they can get HBO without cable (HBO Now). 
    ken hale
  • KingKobra said:
    @ghm3 notice I said quality, not “popular”. I was responding to that portion. HBO shows outside of Game of Thrones have never really been “popular”. Success means different beings to different people. Some want numbers and some want quality, it’s rare that we see the two intersect. At this point it’s just a lot of talk, we will see how things fall out. IMO it’s pretty simple and i always vote with my wallet/viewership. It would suck if we see a general decline in quality, but I’d just stop watching current shows, I’m not going to get upset about something when I can easily chose something else to watch/buy. 
    But simply being a 'quality show' has never been good enough for anyone, even HBO. Most of those other shows were cancelled after only a few seasons, or were a miniseries. The only niche shows that could ever really endure were always just the dirt cheap ones, which are still dependent on the success of the highly popular shows to subsidize them (Girls, Real Time, etc.). 

  • If HBO wants to crawl down into the mass market with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, CBS All Access, etc, etc, I think that’s a mistake. It’s a premium network and the competition isn’t as heavy for those, not to mention they’re many years and many billions of dollars behind the others in that space.

    If you’re a cord cutter, then you’re probably going to subscribe to 2-3 of the mass market outlets and then HBO in addition if you’re a fan of their programming (and for earlier access to newer movies). If HBO becomes like the rest, then I don’t think folks will increase the number of mass market outlets to which the subscribe and HBO will be far inferior because they have so much less content.

    Premium market is less competitive and they’d be better served by just continuing to try to do that better. Otherwise that will be the opportunity for folks at places like Showtime, Starz, or a new entrant to exploit the opportunity (probably with a lot of HBO refugees to help them).
    ghm3
  • Some of my favorites
    Oz
    Sopranos
    Sex and the City
    The Wire
    Carnivale
    Deadwood
    True Blood
    Game Of Thrones
    True Detective
    Vice
    Last Week Tonight
    Real Time
    Barry
    Silicon Valley
    Veep
    Curb Your Enthusiasm
    Larry Sanders Show
    Bored to Death
    Flight of the Conchords
    Eastbound and Down
    The Leftovers
    The Newsroom
    Boardwalk Empire
    The Deuce
    Show Me A Hero
    Band of Brothers
    The Pacific
    From the Earth to the Moon
    The Young Pope
    John Adams
    Generation Kill
    The Night Of
    Six Feet Under
    Rome
    In Treatment
    Big Love
    The Defiant Ones
    Extras
    Hung
    Arliss

    They've done some great stuff.
    ghm3JaimieThisdudeness915
  • ghm3 said:
    KingKobra said:
    @ghm3 notice I said quality, not “popular”. I was responding to that portion. HBO shows outside of Game of Thrones have never really been “popular”. Success means different beings to different people. Some want numbers and some want quality, it’s rare that we see the two intersect. At this point it’s just a lot of talk, we will see how things fall out. IMO it’s pretty simple and i always vote with my wallet/viewership. It would suck if we see a general decline in quality, but I’d just stop watching current shows, I’m not going to get upset about something when I can easily chose something else to watch/buy. 
    But simply being a 'quality show' has never been good enough for anyone, even HBO. Most of those other shows were cancelled after only a few seasons, or were a miniseries. The only niche shows that could ever really endure were always just the dirt cheap ones, which are still dependent on the success of the highly popular shows to subsidize them (Girls, Real Time, etc.). 

    I’ve never said it was “good enough” although HBO needs less than network to consider a show successful. HBO has built brand loyalty via its quality which means they will have had a baseline audience that sticks around. Popular at HBO usually means 2-3 millions viewers weekly (and that may be a bit high). As I said before we could get more good (as well as bad) with this shift. They will want/need these heavy engagement shows to “prop” the lesser viewed shows. The hope is that the more popular shows will bring users to the stable and get more eyes on ALL shows, for thisto happen they need more content (S-S) as it is now most everything occurs on Sundays for them, they want to expand that beyond just Sundays (which I really don’t have an issue with). Personally I think we will see some of the other channels move to the same type of deal eventually. Otherwise they’ll lose creators and content to a truckload of money that one of the big dogs rolls out. 
  • edited July 10
    @LordBy ; Agreed, but it's not HBO that wants to do this, it's AT&T. That AT&T exec plainly stated in no uncertain terms what their goal is; they want mass 40%+ penetration in order to collect consumer data to sell targeted ads, and they'll undoubtedly want to do so as inexpensively as possible.

    I'm not sure how you could get a more conflicting business model with HBO's than that. It's sort of like buying Porsche to compete with Toyota, what the fuck. 

    If they were smart they would leave HBO untouched and create a new service with the help from some of the talent and experience of some at HBO, and then upsell a discounted bundled price to include HBO with it. A VW if you will. 

    But @KingKobra is obviously right that this is all just speculation at this point. But assuming they're going to make good on what's been said -- and I see no reason to think otherwise -- I don't see how this can be a good thing for HBO. 


    Giovanni
  • ghm3 said:
    @LordBy ; Agreed, but it's not HBO that wants to do this, it's AT&T. That AT&T exec plainly stated in no uncertain terms what their goal is; they want mass 40%+ penetration in order to collect consumer data to sell targeted ads, and they'll undoubtedly want to do so as inexpensively as possible.

    I'm not sure how you could get a more conflicting business model with HBO's than that. It's sort of like buying Porsche to compete with Toyota, what the fuck. 

    If they were smart they would leave HBO untouched and create a new service with the help from some of the talent and experience of some at HBO, and then upsell a discounted bundled price to include HBO with it. A VW if you will. 

    But @KingKobra is obviously right that this is all just speculation at this point. But assuming they're going to make good on what's been said -- and I see no reason to think otherwise -- I don't see how this can be a good thing for HBO. 


    Many companies do this (Amazon, Hulu, Google). I don’t have an issue with targeted advertising, if anything that’s a good thing rather than a bagillion random ads for things I have no interest in. Companies use data from one company to help out another. Heck even NetFlix does this to decide what shows are successful and which are not. While I understand why people are adverse to this, it’s not something new. 
  • KingKobra said:
    ghm3 said:
    @LordBy ; Agreed, but it's not HBO that wants to do this, it's AT&T. That AT&T exec plainly stated in no uncertain terms what their goal is; they want mass 40%+ penetration in order to collect consumer data to sell targeted ads, and they'll undoubtedly want to do so as inexpensively as possible.

    I'm not sure how you could get a more conflicting business model with HBO's than that. It's sort of like buying Porsche to compete with Toyota, what the fuck. 

    If they were smart they would leave HBO untouched and create a new service with the help from some of the talent and experience of some at HBO, and then upsell a discounted bundled price to include HBO with it. A VW if you will. 

    But @KingKobra is obviously right that this is all just speculation at this point. But assuming they're going to make good on what's been said -- and I see no reason to think otherwise -- I don't see how this can be a good thing for HBO. 


    Many companies do this (Amazon, Hulu, Google). I don’t have an issue with targeted advertising, if anything that’s a good thing rather than a bagillion random ads for things I have no interest in. Companies use data from one company to help out another. Heck even NetFlix does this to decide what shows are successful and which are not. While I understand why people are adverse to this, it’s not something new. 
    I never said it was new, in fact I said the opposite when I said they're "joining the party" of selling consumer data. It's antithetical to HBO's business model and is one of the things I liked most about it. You may not care about the targeted ads themselves, but the practice has the side effect of sometimes reshaping what the content is and how you can consume it.

    It seems most streaming video services are taking this spoon-fed approach. Youtube is an absolute shitshow now, Netflix wants to spoon-feed you what to watch, Instagram won't let you have a simple chronological feed anymore, I don't even have to get started on the dumpster fire that is Facebook. It's all for the same reason, in the name of funneling views to certain content for targeted advertisement money, user preference be damned.

    At least Alphabet and Facebook are 'free' services doing this. Netflix neutered user reviews by not putting them in mobile/TV/etc. apps, and now they're finally killing them off entirely. That was probably inevitable as soon as they started making their own content, but the last thing they want is an actual person expressing their opinion of a piece of content on their platform when they can just tell you what to watch instead. 
    Giovanni
  • ghm3 said:
    KingKobra said:
    ghm3 said:
    @LordBy ; Agreed, but it's not HBO that wants to do this, it's AT&T. That AT&T exec plainly stated in no uncertain terms what their goal is; they want mass 40%+ penetration in order to collect consumer data to sell targeted ads, and they'll undoubtedly want to do so as inexpensively as possible.

    I'm not sure how you could get a more conflicting business model with HBO's than that. It's sort of like buying Porsche to compete with Toyota, what the fuck. 

    If they were smart they would leave HBO untouched and create a new service with the help from some of the talent and experience of some at HBO, and then upsell a discounted bundled price to include HBO with it. A VW if you will. 

    But @KingKobra is obviously right that this is all just speculation at this point. But assuming they're going to make good on what's been said -- and I see no reason to think otherwise -- I don't see how this can be a good thing for HBO. 


    Many companies do this (Amazon, Hulu, Google). I don’t have an issue with targeted advertising, if anything that’s a good thing rather than a bagillion random ads for things I have no interest in. Companies use data from one company to help out another. Heck even NetFlix does this to decide what shows are successful and which are not. While I understand why people are adverse to this, it’s not something new. 
    I never said it was new, in fact I said the opposite when I said they're "joining the party" of selling consumer data. It's antithetical to HBO's business model and is one of the things I liked most about it. You may not care about the targeted ads themselves, but the practice has the side effect of sometimes reshaping what the content is and how you can consume it.

    It seems most streaming video services are taking this spoon-fed approach. Youtube is an absolute shitshow now, Netflix wants to spoon-feed you what to watch, Instagram won't let you have a simple chronological feed anymore, I don't even have to get started on the dumpster fire that is Facebook. It's all for the same reason, in the name of funneling views to certain content for targeted advertisement money, user preference be damned.

    At least Alphabet and Facebook are 'free' services doing this. Netflix neutered user reviews by not putting them in mobile/TV/etc. apps, and now they're finally killing them off entirely. That was probably inevitable as soon as they started making their own content, but the last thing they want is an actual person expressing their opinion of a piece of content on their platform when they can just tell you what to watch instead. 
    Personally user reviews on NetFlix don’t mean much to me (personally), I don’t think I’ve ever used them. I look for what’s new and if it looks interesting add it to my queue or see what others recommend via forums and social media. I understand that you and I will probably never see eye to eye on this and rather than clutter up the thread, I’ll stop. I do understand why people are upset though and hope people vote with their wallets and veiwership if things go south. 
  • MattyWeavesMattyWeaves Mid-State New York
    Just to throw this out there, I didn't even know Netflix had written reviews until people around the net started bugging out. I've never liked watching things on my computer, so I would have had no clue otherwise.

    About the whole HBO thing, I often vote with my wallet and it will be no different here. I love HBO because of all the things I've watched that add up over time, not how much they can entertain me on a daily basis.

    HBO was always sort of 'event level' for me, which made it special and made me more willing to pay for it. Other than Netflix, HBO, and Hulu, I can't imagine ever loving a network so much I'm willing to pay more than $10 for. I only have Hulu and HBO right now because I got, "can't pass them up deals," that saved me a lot of money.
    KingKobra
  • Yeah agreed about the clutter, but I'll just summarize with re: Netflix reviews. There's far too much original content on Netflix to be able to rely on finding reviews for them all on a forum/Rotten Tomatoes/friends, and I'm not willing to go digging up info on them elsewhere most of the time. Netflix reviews were great for those gray area shows that looked potentially interesting but didn't quite get enough popularity to garner outside reviews or references.
    Giovanni
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