Future Vision for HBO
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Navigating the media landscape
Since its inception in 1972, HBO has been at the forefront of television entertainment, airing such iconic broadcasts as the 1975 boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier to the recent string of critically acclaimed original series and films. As an independent premium cable channel, HBO is integral to helping cable and satellite companies attract and retain subscribers. But there is a downside to having the cable company act as middleman: HBO’s relationship with its viewers is largely indirect. Additionally, the entire entertainment industry is being rocked by technological shifts that are coming tantalizingly close to letting people watch what they want, when they want—to the great consternation of traditional media outlets. These shifts have engendered increased competition between cable channels as well as from entirely new online distribution outlets. And yet, at the same time, these shifts represent new opportunities for HBO, as IDEO found when asked to envision HBO’s future role and brand in this evolving media landscape.
With special emphasis on HBO’s Video On Demand offering, IDEO began early phase research to explore people’s experience with the media brand. IDEO found that this experience centered largely on the viewing of HBO shows, perhaps the most critical part of the media experience. However, other important media-related activities—learning about new shows, planning to watch new shows, creating the right viewing environment, saving and sharing viewing experiences—were either underserved or controlled by HBO’s cable and satellite partners. IDEO concluded that HBO’s challenge would be to develop a media service that holistically addressed the media consumer’s entire journey and allowed subscribers to experience HBO wherever and whenever they desired.
To communicate to HBO the value of the entire media consumption journey, IDEO created a comprehensive product development and user experience vision. This vision was delivered in the form of an immersive environment, built on-site at HBO, which conveyed key customer values and behaviors and presented a roadmap for building the appropriate products and services. Included in this roadmap were future scenarios and tools that invited prototyping and exploration.
Project date: 2006