HBO should be having a great year given that it’s airing the third season of the hit "True Blood" and earlier this year debuted the award-winning "The Pacific," but instead HBO found itself with its lowest number of subscribers in four years during the second quarter, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
The pay-television channel had 28.6 million subscribers in the second quarter, according to numbers from SNL Kagan. That represents the second of its first back-to-back quarterly declines in at least six years, the story says.
So what’s going on? DirecTV is sucking the lifeblood from HBO, the story says. The No. 1 satellite service has been using a tactic to pressure the network during carriage negotiations, by using "drastic reduction of the promotional support crucial to "upselling" HBO to subscribers," the article concludes.
Neither HBO nor DirecTV would comment, the story says.
Showtime and Starz saw subscriber increases in the second quarter. The bottom line may be that no matter how popular a pay-TV network’s shows may be, they’ll suffer when a distributor pulls back on hawking the service to customers, the article says.