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HBO places renewed focus on digital content, mobile apps with Seattle 'Code Labs' office

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HBO isn't yet willing to let all customers cut the cord and subscribe to HBO Go sans cable box, but the network is anything but ignorant when it comes to recognizing the importance of digital content. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that HBO is preparing to open its first office dedicated solely to its presence on mobile platforms and other digital avenues. Forgoing the traditional Silicon Valley locale, HBO has instead chosen Seattle as its newest home, not far from Microsoft's Redmond headquarters.

That's particularly appropriate since two executives who formerly worked at Microsoft — Otto Berkes and Drew Angeloff — will head up initiatives at the new office, referred to as Code Labs in recent job postings. Berkes was involved in the creation of the original Xbox, the successor of which has played a pivotal role in HBO's digital strategy. Among home consoles, HBO Go remains an Xbox 360 exclusive, letting HBO customers stream their favorite shows like Game of Thrones and The Newsroom. The network's smartphone and tablet apps have also proven wildly popular, leading many to pressure the company to let consumers pay for HBO programming individually without being handcuffed to a traditional cable package. Thus far only a select few European countries have gained that privilege, but HBO's investment in digital could prompt even more calls for a standalone model in the months ahead.