Interview with William G. Hooks, January 13, 2015

William G. Hooks began his career at HBO in sales and distribution in 1974, and retired thirty years later as the executive vice president of the company’s international operations. In this interview, Hooks discusses his background, and then goes on to treat many aspects of HBO’s genesis and development. He details pitching national, regional, and local cable operators in the early days, and how HBO, as the first service of its kind, was able to leverage shifting consumer tastes and satellite technology in order to dominate the budding market. Hooks also mentions the challenges faced by the young company, including government regulation and eventual competition from Showtime. In response to the latter, he comments on the creation of Cinemax in 1980. He shares some of his impressions of the big names at HBO and considers its culture, both managerial and collegial–treating diversity issues at some length. Hooks concludes with a reflection on the possible reasons for HBO’s success and describes some of his experiences overseas.

Watch interview | Download transcript (pdf)