Pace University hosts an annual event for students and faculty called the One Day Immersion. Focused on the entertainment industry the sessions cover topics such as Super Women in Tech, The Best Career Advice and Non Traditional Media Methods. The keynote interview was with Richard Plelper, Chairman and CEO of HBO. Dean Neil Braun asked a set of compelling questions.
Richard Plelper started out in public relations and worked in that field many years.
HBO has 130 million suscribers in 160 countries. Game of Thrones is the brand’s most successful series. But, it took a leap of faith to sign the show.
Getting to CEO
Good fortune is a happy accident, but following your gut is important. Breathe what you do.
Got in my shitty Honda and went to work in Chris Dodd’s office because of a deep interest in politics. Then started RLP International and convinced Bibi Netanyahu to sign the country Israel as a client to create a documentary on the challenges of the time.
HBO Value Proposition
We are about great story tellers. Hitting lightning twice with Sex in the City and Sopranos was luck. And, we played to stay there by listening like insurgents and finding the next great thing. So when Lena Dunham and David Benioff came in…we signed them.
HBO is in the brand business, not the CPM business. Great shows do it and I want to build addicts. The key is to focus on what elevates our brand and builds addicts across shows across demographics with great programming.
Data analytics is used to market to the 15 million undecideds out there in the US.
We created a stand alone internet service to give viewers access whenever they want. You can get us how you want to get us. Apple provides access on their distribution and partner with them.
You have our whole oevre available on HBO Go and watch previous shows.
HBO is International
HBO’s brand is known globally. It’s a revenue opportunity with great growth. Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe demand indigonous programming and those shows do better than HBO traditional shows.
Our culture is key. You need honest conversations where people are able to criticize those at the top. You must demonstrate that is true. For example, the decision to invade Iraq. How about Blackberry. What happened to their share? Someone only believed rich people would use them. Check me – don’t rush to a decision. Why do people have to be right instead of doing it right? It takes time. People need an environment to think together.