Netflix has been on the Iron Throne of streaming platforms for numerous years, despite competition from Amazon and others. Now the streaming giant can count HBO as a more threatening potential rival, following AT&T's takeover of Time Warner, HBO's parent company. Plans are in place to increase the overall budget of the cable network's original programming, which could further put the home of Game of Thrones within fighting distance of Netflix's successes.
And an enhanced budget is not the only plan being discussed by John Stankey, the inbound head of AT&T's entertainment division. In a recent interview, Stankey also revealed he plans to expand the network's programming library, while also adding more content to on-demand. Additionally, he expressed interest in broadening HBO's reach internationally, namely by bringing the exclusive online edition of HBO to more countries, per Bloomberg. It is all good news for those of us who want more to watch after we are done binge-watching the latest show on HBO Go and HBO Now.
While Netflix is considered the leading streaming platform, HBO has Game of Thrones, which is widely considered one of the most popular television show on the planet right now, and it takes that top spot for a lot of people. HBO will certainly need a larger budget if it plans to beef up its library outside of the fantasy franchise. John Stankey did not reveal what HBO's newly heightened budget would be. To give you an idea of what HBO would need to compete, know that Netflix's initial budget for 2018 was $8 billion.
With a budget that big, HBO would be able to theoretically give Ghost its own Game of Thrones spinoff after the final season. Plus, HBO doesn't just have Game of Thrones to rely on to carry its brand. It also has the sci-fi series Westworld, and the breakout hit Big Little Lies, with the latter starting out as a miniseries before getting a second season renewal. Still, Westworld is currently in the midst of its own second season, and its popularity is nowhere near that of Game of Thrones, and the same goes for the rest of the critically acclaimed slate. The future could potentially see Damon Lindelof's Watchmen TV series come to life, which would have a shot at becoming HBO's next monster hit.
While HBO increasing its investment in original content could put it closer to Netflix, the top streamer is not the only competitor HBO needs to consider. Amazon, Hulu, and Apple are also circling feverishly. Amazon has yet to spawn a huge pop culture hit, though it is working on a Lord of the Rings television show to amend that. Whereas Hulu has made a strong entrance into that arena with its water-cooler friendly and award-winning hit The Handmaid's Tale. Can HBO change its tale along with the Netflix narrative? Stay tuned.
For new upcoming and returning television shows you can anticipate watching on HBO and other channels in the coming months, check out CinemaBlend's guide to TV's summer premieres. If you want to know what's streaming, CinemaBlend has our 2018 Netflix premiere rundown and our guide to Amazon Prime's premiere schedule to keep you apprised.