AT&T CEO: Netflix is the Walmart of streaming video. HBO is Tiffany

CEO Randall Stephenson has some fighting words for its streaming rivals.

Erin Carson Former Senior Writer
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Erin Carson
2 min read

Randall Stephenson views HBO, which AT&T owns, as a higher-end streaming service with shows like "Game of Thrones."


AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has some thoughts about the hierarchy of streaming video services. 

"I think of Netflix kind of as the Walmart of [subscription video on-demand services]. HBO is kind of the Tiffany," Stephenson said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference on Wednesday, CNBC reported

In June,  AT&T   completed its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, the high-profile entertainment company behind networks like HBO and movie franchises like Superman and Harry Potter. The takeover brought one of the biggest programmers of movies and television under the roof of the second biggest mobile carrier in the US. 

Stephenson said the company plans to increase spending on and output of HBO series. 

"You'd like to fill out the schedule [on HBO] ... but we're not talking about Netflix-scale investments," said Stephenson, according to Deadline Hollywood. The extra budget for original content will come from cost savings, he said.

AT&T declined to comment further.

AT&T executives have reportedly been discussing changes to HBO to significantly boost its subscriber base and the hours people spend consuming its shows. The network faces growing competition to create hits shows and other original content as it faces off against Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and now even Facebook.

This year Netflix broke HBO's 17-year streak for snagging the most Emmy nominations. Netflix walked away with a total of 112 nominations versus HBO's 108. HBO's Game of Thrones snagged the most nominations, at 22, but Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale wasn't far behind with 20 nods for its second season. The series won best drama series honors at the 2017 Emmys. This year's Primetime Emmy Awards will air Sept. 17 on NBC.

Netflix didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

First published Sept. 12, 9:01 a.m. PT.
Update, 9:22 a.m. PT: AT&T declined to comment. 
Update, 10:10 a.m. PT: Adds background about AT&T merger with Time Warner.