Interview with Matthew C. Blank, July 23, 2014

Matthew C. Blank began his career at HBO in 1976 as an affiliate market manager and ended his tenure in 1988 as the senior vice president of consumer marketing. In this interview Blank discusses his background and HBO’s early development. He treats his experiences with cable affiliates across the country at some length, including local marketing efforts, launch events, and challenges related to programming content. Blank arrived immediately following HBO’s transition to satellite and he stresses the importance of that technology to the company’s success. Blank talks about the pay-cable market generally and HBO’s advantage in being first on the scene, but also notes that competition increased over time. He comments on the purpose of Cinemax: a flanker brand to compete with Showtime–and explains his involvement in its genesis. Blank shares his thoughts on the company’s learn-by-doing business culture and close-knit social environment. Additionally, he considers the homogeneity of executives’ and employees’ backgrounds. Blank concludes by touching on his eventual move from HBO to Showtime, and returns to the topic of a gradual evening of the pay-cable field.

Watch interview |Download transcript (pdf)