Speaking Wednesday morning at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom investor conference in Palm Beach, Fla., Moonves said negotiations with digital distributors and traditional multi-channel video program distributors (MVPDs) are already taking place.
On Tuesday, HBO confirmed that its new standalone premium streaming service, called HBO NOW, will launch in April.
Moonves acknowledged that HBO’s announcement accelerated the conversations with distributors. “We’ve been having discussions with the normal suspects. I think the floodgates are now open,” said Moonves.
HBO and Showtime have long resisted selling their services separately from cable companies for fear of threatening their relationship with cable providers. But, no doubt spurred on by the success of Netflix, both pay cable networks are shaking up their business models.
Moonves said that “other than a little bit of consternation (from MVPDs), I don’t see how anybody cannot view this as a positive for HBO and a positive for Showtime.”
Could this be the end of cable bundling? Moonves seems to think so. “Clearly the bundle is changing. The days of the 500-channel universe are over,” he said “The days of the 150-channel universe in the home are not necessarily over but they’re changing rapidly. People are slicing it and dicing it in different ways.”