AT&T won’t trample HBO’s quality, top executive says

HBO isn’t going to become a content factory under new owner AT&T Inc., a top executive at the premium programmer said Wednesday at an entertainment-industry gathering.

“Let me put this as clearly as I can. There are no plans to dilute the HBO brand in favor of volume of programming,” said HBO Programming President Casey Bloys at the semiannual Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Bloys was responding to questions about AT&T’s plans for the service, which has been a topic of interest in media circles since AT&T T, -4.51%  closed on its deal to acquire HBO parent Time Warner Inc. Last month at a town hall meeting at HBO’s New York headquarters, John Stankey, the AT&T executive in charge of the newly acquired Time Warner assets, spoke of the need for more content at HBO and better engagement with its audience. He stressed that HBO has to build a closer relationship with its customers similar to Facebook and get them to spend more time watching programs.

In his remarks Wednesday, Bloys said there was no threat to HBO’s identity. “We’re not going to do anything that doesn’t feel like something we wouldn’t have done before,” Bloys said. “No one is asking us to sacrifice quality for volume” or increase volume “to a point where we lose quality control.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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