Starting notably with Terry Semel leaving Warner Brother’s and taking on the role of CEO and Chairman of Yahoo in 2001, major web properties have increasingly embraced leadership from executives developed in the ranks of traditional media. The similarities between the two industries, and the increasing need for their two worlds to work together, makes the logic understandable; even when critics question the less entrepreneurial nature of traditional media.
In November, Time Warner’s AOL unit, hired Randy Falco as its CEO. Prior to his hiring Falco spent 30 years at NBC, most recently as President of the Universal Television’s Network Group. Given the television background, it was only a short matter of time before a TV meets Internet deal happened.
The effort is particularly notable in that it marks HBO’s first effort to play online besides at its HBO.com property. While many specifics weren’t’ announced, the new channel will have both original content and portions of HBO programming.
No full length HBO shows will be displayed. HBO has to be careful not to cause trouble with it’s cable and satellite affiliates. It will likely use the site, in part like a focus group to test new material and as a brand workshop to further strengthen their reputation and overall brand image. Advertising for the site will be provided by AOL.
The site is expected to launch in late January or early February 2007.