HBO considers going a la carte

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TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: There's a major media summit -- the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, the official title -- in New York today. Cable giants are trying to figure out how to survive in a digital world. And HBO -- remember Home Box Office -- for one, is considering drastic changes.

Marketplace's Jennifer Collins reports.


Jennifer Collins: HBO is expected to lose a million and a half subscribers this year. Cable analyst Richard Greenfield says the premium channel is facing competition from cheaper online entertainment like Netflix.

Richard Greenfield: I think HBO has reason to be concerned, how real that threat is is to be determined.

So it seems HBO may now be listening to one of its most beloved characters: talent agent Ari Gold on the show "Entourage."

Ari Gold: Wake up!

HBO is owned by Time Warner. And its Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes said he may consider distributing HBO separately from traditional cable subscriptions.

Lucy Hood researches media trends at the University of Southern California. She says HBO could be a hit on its own.

Lucy Hood: It would be an extremely interesting proposition to many consumers who don't subscribe to cable or satellite right now.

And that may help add to HBO's 28 million subscribers. Not that Ari Gold really needs a larger audience.

I'm Jennifer Collins for Marketplace.

About the author

Jennifer Collins is a reporter for the Marketplace portfolio of programs. She is based in Los Angeles, where she covers media, retail, the entertainment industry and the West Coast.

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