Travel Media & Technology Bulletin – Tuesday 5 March 2019

The latest developments in media and technology, published every Tuesday at 06:00 GMT.

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HBO Logo
HBO Logo (Image Credit: Home Box Office)

Hello and welcome to our weekly travel media and technology bulletin, published every Tuesday at 06:00 GMT.


For decades HBO has been the benchmark for the “golden era” of television producing a string of exceptionally high quality and critically acclaimed hits from The Sopranos to Game Of Thrones.

One of its latest works is the Michael Jackson documentary “Leaving Neverland”. Part 1 aired in the US on Sunday and will be shown by Channel 4 in the UK tomorrow. As per Slate, it has generated extensive coverage.

It’s this benchmark that led rival channels to create “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”.

Its success is partly down to the fact that it relies exclusively on subscription revenue and, crucially for an American channel, does not take advertising and doesn’t answer to advertisers.

Quality is also profitable. Last year, the channel made a profit of $2bn.

Although it has been part of a media conglomerate Time Warner, the channel was largely left to its own devices under the leadership of Richard Plepler who, until last week, had been CEO of HBO for 27 years.

That has now changed since Time Warner merged with AT&T. HBO is being subsumed with other TV channels in the group and is expected to produce more hours of output to rival Netflix.

How a channel built on nurturing personal relationships on the East & West Coasts survives the data driven demands of its hands-on new parent will be interesting viewing in itself.

Also of note this week:

Emily Sheffield launches a new news start-up based around Instagram Stories. (Buzzfeed)

Luminary is a new subscription podcast service promising 40+ ad free podcasts, with the inevitable Netflix comparisons. (New York Times)

The New Yorker reports on the extensive levels of co-operation between Fox News and the White House. It includes that Fox spiked negative stories in advance of the 2016 Presidential Election. There are shades of phone hacking at The News Of The World here. This is not going to end well. (The New Yorker).

The hapless Chris Grayling manages to make it to the pages of The New York Times. (New York Times)

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