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Comcast thinks HBO will regret its decision to break away from bundles

Surprise: Comcast isn’t overly enthusiastic about HBO’s plan to offer a standalone streaming service that will appeal to cord cutters. Barron’s notes that during an earnings call this week, Comcast EVP and NBC CEO Steve Burke was asked for his take on HBO’s decision to offer a standalone streaming option starting next year. As you might expect, Burke downplayed its significance and even suggested that HBO might come to regret breaking itself away from the bundle in the future.

On Thursday’s earnings call, Comcast executives were asked for their reactions to HBO’ and CBS’ offering direct-to-consumer subscription services. The answer from executive vice president Stephen Burke was interesting. Via Seeking Alpha, here’s what he said: “Regarding HBO and CBS selling directly I was surprised, I was surprised by both of them for different reasons. CBS I was surprised because they have been such a defender of retransmission consent in the traditional ecosystem and been so successful in the broadcast business and HBO because I think its going to be such a challenge for them to not cannibalize what is already a really really good business. That having been said, we are still early on in the transition to more internet television that I think you are going to see a lot of surprising things. And you know what’s surprising to me is that we are making hundreds of millions of dollars from Hulu and Netflix and Amazon, businesses that we didn’t even think about five years ago.”

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