Major League Baseball, Disney, and the National Hockey League have big plans for streaming technology provider BAMTech. HBO will apparently not be a part of them.
The joint venture, which began as a sports-focused streaming service, will likely soon be majority controlled by Disney, who is likely to offer over-the-top content beyond a sports-centric focus. While HBO is one of the entities currently being streamed via the service, Claire Atkinson at the New York Post is reporting that the premium cable service is attempting to exit the deal in 2017.
The likely reason? HBO, which is owned by Time Warner, which itself might soon be owned by AT&T, has been investing in it’s own streaming service internally. Currently splitting it’s streaming deals across multiple platforms around the world, they want to unify their content under one umbrella.
For their part, HBO has denied that they are leaving the service, though HBO’s executive vice president of corporate communications Quentin Schaffer did say the two sides will “discuss the future of the relationship” when their contract expires next year.
Given the big partners and streaming deals BAMTech is currently working with, which includes ESPN, MLB, Disney, WWE, they’re likely hoping to get a stranglehold on the marketplace as OTT services gain in visibility and strength. Losing what is arguably premium cable’s top network, however, puts a damper in those plans.
To be fair, MLB president of business and media Bob Bowman might have inadvertently gotten what he asked for back in August:
“You have to be really careful. More is not always more, and you want to have a good amount of content, enough content, but not too much. In some ways, we’re almost trying to replicate ESPN of 20 years ago, where they had a good amount of programming, but not everything.”
If less is more, it sounds like BAMTech will have more of less in the coming year.