Here’s what putting HBO shows on Netflix means for the future of streaming

As if June 2023 wasn’t confusing enough for Warner Discovery, Turner Classic Movies and flash The conglomerate became one of the worst-grossing companies in history, but faces a further blow after news that it plans to sell HBO shows to rival streaming companies.While some HBO shows like Nevers and west world Leased to ad-supported platforms like Tubi, Warner Discovery is preparing to sell the rights to the site. isa ray HBO shows Insecurity The move to Netflix is ​​the next big step. Now, HBO productions can be found on rival ad-free platforms (and possibly ad-supported Netflix versions), breaking decades of precedent that HBO viewers could only watch ad-free HBO shows on the platform.

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The Warner Discovery team has shown little respect for tradition in its other big moves, so it’s no surprise that the company now sees completed HBO projects as just another way to squeeze extra money. Going down this route doesn’t just upend HBO’s norms for distributing programming, though. It’s also a symbol of the larger state of streaming entertainment. The norms of the past few years are increasingly being broken and replaced by business practices that return to the old ways of doing business.

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HBO has sold shows in syndication before

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano standing in front of the bathroom mirror in
Image via HBO

Warner Discovery isn’t the first company to see signs of profit selling the idea of ​​reruns of HBO shows to other networks. In the mid-2000s, at the height of HBO’s notoriety as a premium storytelling brand, the network sold some of its most popular shows to various cable networks for syndication, including curb your enthusiasm and The Sopranos.The move is meant to emulate countless classic TV shows (from Seinfeld arrive paste arrive golden girletc.) Once their old episodes started endless reruns on cable, they made untold riches. However, these shows didn’t need to be overhauled to fit the parameters of a Nick at Nite show.Works such as The Sopranos It’s unintentionally comical as the cable network clumsily censors nudity and strong language that only HBO can do.

Because of this problem, HBO’s process of selling its shows to the syndication market declined rapidly.In the 2010s, even a show like game of Thrones As a pop culture phenomenon began to take off, HBO didn’t sell its productions to other streamers and networks, save for a brief deal in 2014 when some HBO shows started appearing on Prime Video. The practice comes at a time when studios and companies are starting to avoid selling their products to rival companies and platforms. Disney, for example, has promised its movies will come to its streaming service starting in 2019, while Netflix has started loading local movies and TV shows instead of focusing on licensing older titles. To compete in the Netflix and streaming era, studios and streamers see exclusivity as the name of the game and a way to enhance their respective brands’ uniqueness in the marketplace.

This approach works better for some companies than others, but for HBO at least, it fits right in with the philosophy that its productions have no better home than HBO. succession, barry, los espoquisand many others are well suited for this unique production that can only be found on this long-running premium cable TV show. Attempts to turn these unique shows into a world of syndicated reruns have not been successful, especially since earning revenue from these markets means compromising their artistic integrity. The Sopranos. However, the days of studios and streamers selling only to themselves are over.

A new day for broadcasters has arrived

Bill Hader walks through the woods in Season 2 of 'Barry'
Image via Max

Disney is now openly talking about selling its projects to other streamers, while Amazon has launched a distribution company dedicated to selling its original films (such as tomorrow’s war and borat follow-up film) into the ancillary market. Everyone reselling products to rival companies was unthinkable three years ago, but was once the norm in the TV world. That’s an especially tantalizing prospect in 2023, since selling reruns of “Insecure” to Netflix doesn’t require HBO to provide cuts of the show (Netflix is ​​open to adult programming that includes nudity and foul language). A new revenue stream has opened up that aims to improve upon previous attempts at HBO syndication.

Still, that doesn’t mean the potential plan is going to be as popular as all of Warner Discovery’s folks.In its initial report on the news Insecurity According to Deadline, longtime HBO executives opposed the move by Netflix. Exclusivity has long been a cornerstone of the HBO brand, and simply selling shows to other streamers (thus making them known to the public as “Netflix shows”) feels like a violation of that tenet. Plus, the streamer’s show will now support Netflix, one of the biggest players in the streaming wars. It’s not just Warner Bros. TV developing original TV shows for Netflix, it’s HBO gifting some of its unique assets to Netflix (the Max streaming platform is apparently still capable of streaming) Insecurity Even with this Netflix deal, for the record).

the most important is, Insecurity Netflix’s licensing agreement suggests that a long-standing rule that streamers may not offer each other’s shows is about to collapse. Unfortunately, it also reflects the reality that Warner Discovery execs aren’t going to listen to someone with a lot of experience dealing with the unique artistic entity these sets now have. When it was easy to make money, Warner Discovery executives were willing to do anything, including going down the path that HBO once derided in the mid-2000s.Still, there’s no turning back now, especially since this Insecurity Word has it that other HBO shows are in talks to add it to Netflix. A new day has come for HBO programming… only time will tell if it’s a day of glorious fortune or endless turmoil.

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