Peter Dinklage poses with the Outstanding Supporting Actor for a Drama Series for ‘Game of Thrones’ during to the 70th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Microsoft Theater on September 17, 2018.
Kevork Djansezian | NBC | NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
“Great times” are ahead for consumers of television content as viewers now have so much content and so many platforms to choose from, said the chief executive of HBO Asia.
“It’s the golden age of television in many ways,” Jonathan Spink, CEO of HBO Asia, told CNBC on Thursday at the APOS 2019 summit in Bali, Indonesia. “There’s just so much content being produced.”
Yet, that can come as a double-edged sword, in particular for media companies.
“It’s equally very difficult to reach the audience because you’ve got so many different platforms and within those platforms, finding content can be problematic,” Spink said.
That’s potentially one of the benefits for companies such as HBO, which offer linear TV — or real-time programming broadcast at scheduled times — as opposed to on-demand TV offered by companies like Netflix.
“I think this is possibly one of the advantages of still having linear services because linear gets bigger audiences instantly, more buzz can be developed,” Spink said.
His comments come at a time when media giants such as Disney and Netflix have shelled out billions on content production.
Earlier in April, Disney unveiled plans for its own streaming service, Disney+, and priced it significantly lower than the most popular plan on Netflix. For its part, Netflix offered another $2 billion in debt this week to fund its content spending and other expenses — the second such occurrence in 7 months.
Game of Thrones
HBO has also been pouring money into content, with episodes of the final season of hit drama “Game of Thrones” estimated to cost $15 million each, according to a Variety report. A spokesperson for HBO said the company does not confirm budget figures.
Spink said Game of Thrones was “one of those possibly once-in-a-generation series that has just captured the imagination of the world,” and acknowledged that not every TV show can be such a “rip-roaringly expensive production.”
“I’m glad it’s with us,” he added.
On the subject of content piracy, Spink said it was the “biggest single issue … for all businesses” in this part of the world.
“I think Game of Thrones was downloaded something like 70 million times in the first episode of the last season illegally … in three days. This year will be no different, probably even bigger,” he said.
Spink urged government, regulators, law enforcers and the industry to “get involved.”
“It is crucial because, if people get things for free, there’s no incentive for anybody to make anything … of great quality or value,” he said.
— CNBC’s Lauren Feiner and Emmie Martin contributed to this report.