It's been interesting to follow the tale of HBO's issues with building reliable technology. The Fortune article from last year about Otto Berkes, the former CTO, and his and his team's work on Project Maui offered a nice glimpse behind the curtain of the issues facing a historically content-led company in a modern setting where distribution is just as important.
Now, Fast Company published a great article about how HBO Now came to be, outlining more of the technical issues HBO has faced previously with HBO Go, and how they got into a deal with both Apple and MLB:
[HBO CEO] Plepler also reached out to Time Warner board member Paul Wachter, who worked on the Apple-Beats deal in his day job as an investment banker. Wachter connected him with Apple’s digital media chief, Eddy Cue, who came to New York for a meeting in Plepler’s office. Plepler explained that he needed a distributor, and that HBO Now would be ready by the spring (when Game of Thrones’ season 5 would bow). Cue tells me that he wanted to do the deal with HBO "the next day."
"[MLB Advanced Media] weren’t conceptual," says Brindle, a brassy blonde with a deep-throated laugh. "They were actually in the market doing it, right?" And unlike other tech companies, MLB Advanced Media is known for completing projects on time. "Opening day is opening day," Joe Inzerillo, its CTO, tells me one afternoon as we walk through the company’s loftlike office space above New York’s Chelsea Market. "The commissioner’s not moving opening day if the bats aren’t ready. So we’re very used to working backward from a hard date."