I didn’t pick this up last month when it was going down, but in mid-July, Sean Atkins, SVP of HBO Digital Media, ankled the company. This comes only a year after he was hired from Yahoo! and HBO fired almost the entire Digital Media team that had been based in LA (the office subsequently moved to NYC).
What’s interesting about this story is that unlike many other big media companies, HBO has really not gone full-force into digital, preferring to use the web for marketing and promotion of their broadcast programming rather than for content delivery.
The question for a lot of smaller companies, and a lot of filmmakers, is just where to ride that line- you don’t want to get left behind on a new revenue source, as so many did with DVD, but there is little sense in sinking resources into a ‘market’ that at this point could simply reduce more lucrative sales (either advertising or DVD) by diffusing the options for consumers.
HBO has made a reputation by offering a premium product that does not have mass access. There are still ways for that to translate digitally but it doesn’t make as much sense. It’s no wonder they have had trouble developing a successful digital division- but with their lucrative catalog, they could begin to find themselves on the wrong side of the line soon.