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AT&T’s new HBO chief criticizes Netflix, says it ‘doesn’t have a brand’

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‘It’s just a place you go to get anything’

Friends Of The Saban Community Clinic’s 42nd Annual Gala - Inside Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images

AT&T’s new head of HBO, Bob Greenblatt, was just hired on Monday, and by Tuesday, he was already criticizing Netflix. He told NBC News’ Dylan Byers, “Netflix doesn’t have a brand. It’s just a place you go to get anything — it’s like Encyclopedia Britannica.”

Greenblatt took over on Monday as part of AT&T’s sweeping changes to the structure of WarnerMedia. He now oversees HBO, TBS, TNT, and truTV, as well as the development of a streaming service that AT&T hopes will challenge Netflix.

His take on Netflix’s business model came when Byers asked about HBO’s competition and the streaming wars. Greenblatt went on to say that Netflix had a “great business model when you’re trying to reach as many people on the planet as you can.” He also complimented Netflix for the shows Master of None and Russian Doll, saying, “There are all kinds of things that are exciting. It’s just got to be really quality.”

HBO has its own streaming services (HBO Go and HBO Now) that offer shows like Westworld and Game of Thrones. When asked if the new AT&T streaming service could potentially cannibalize services like HBO Now, Greenblatt said, “They’re not saying let’s undo HBO.” HBO plans to release 150 hours of original programming this year, as executives push the network to make more content to compete with Netflix in a world with shorter attention spans and endless options.

Besides Netflix, there’s also Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Vudu, and a host of other options out there that are available for cord-cutters. Disney is currently preparing its own major service. Greenblatt had to admit, with all of the services out there already “it’s getting to be a crowded field,” he said. “We think there’s room to carve out a very good consumer base for us...We have our collection of assets, and I think we can put them together in a way that’s really compelling.”