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AT&T INC.

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Ex-HBO head to make TV, movies for Apple's streaming service

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01/03/2020 | 01:29pm EDT

The former head of HBO, Richard Plepler, has signed an exclusive production deal with Apple to make TV shows and movies for the iPhone maker's new streaming service, Apple TV Plus.

Plepler is well known in the entertainment industry and cultivated HBO's reputation for “prestige” TV. He left the company after AT&T bought its owner, Time Warner. AT&T began changing Time Warner, now known as WarnerMedia, to fuel the creation of more content for its own streaming service, HBO Max, which is expected to launch this spring. AT&T has kept the HBO name for the service but made it more mass-market than the cable channel, including adding old hit TV shows like “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

Apple TV Plus launched last fall with a significantly smaller catalog than Netflix, Disney Plus and other streamers. It's aiming for quality, stocking its TV shows and movies with Hollywood stars and power players. Its handful of shows landed mixed reviews from TV critics, but one of the most high-profile, “The Morning Show,” received several Golden Globe nominations. Apple has not disclosed how many subscribers it has. It has a potentially huge customer base among Apple's loyal users and the cheapest price of the major streamers at $5 a month.

Apple says Plepler's new production company, Eden Productions, based in New York, will be a “boutique" shop that makes a "few select" shows and movies — a strategy that could bring to mind HBO's old approach. Plepler said in a statement that he's excited to work with the team at Apple, which he called “one of the most creative companies in the world" and the “perfect home” for his “next chapter.”

Plepler is a good fit with Apple, which for now is focusing on quality original programming over building a big library of shows and movies, said Michael Greeson, the president of Diffusion Group, a media research firm.

The New York Times on Thursday first reported Plepler and Apple's new deal.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed., source Associated Press News

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
APPLE INC. -1.44% 241.41 Delayed Quote.-17.79%
AT&T INC. -4.52% 27.46 Delayed Quote.-29.73%
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2019 181 B
EBIT 2019 30 388 M
Net income 2019 16 227 M
Debt 2019 155 B
Yield 2019 7,12%
P/E ratio 2019 13,1x
P/E ratio 2020 10,9x
EV / Sales2019 2,00x
EV / Sales2020 1,95x
Capitalization 206 B
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Mean consensus HOLD
Number of Analysts 33
Average target price 37,48  $
Last Close Price 28,76  $
Spread / Highest target 63,4%
Spread / Average Target 30,3%
Spread / Lowest Target -30,5%
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Managers
NameTitle
Randall L. Stephenson Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
John T. Stankey President & Chief Operating Officer
John J. Stephens Chief Financial Officer & Senior Executive VP
Laura D'Andrea Tyson Independent Director
Matthew K. Rose Lead Independent Director
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