“It Is Not Television: Rising Revolution and the Future of HBO” by Felix Gillette and John Koblin (Viking)
Streamer and on-demand services are very common today, one can accept whether the HBO revolution was when it was first launched.
In “It’s Not TV”, business reporters Felix Gillette and John Koblin paint a picture of cultural and business institutions from the beginning to the challenges they now face.
This book serves two purposes and does both well. The first is like the cultural history of some of the most famous programs and programs that HBO has created over the years.
In their narration, HBO is a cultural realm built on the most memorable heroes and buggy characters ever created. From Tony Soprano to Selina Meyer, HBO specializes in investing in shows with characters that years of television broadcasts will not touch.
But the other purpose of the book, an interesting account of HBO’s business practices, shows how the latest cable networks and streaming services struggled to keep the world it helped create.
Gillette and Koblin offer a lot of behind-the-scenes stories that make TV lovers and business news equally bad. They include some bugs along the way, such as HBO miscalculations on how to respond and compete with Netflix and other services.
It also describes the many issues that HBOs struggle with, including descriptions of women and, in particular, violence against them.
Gillette and Koblin’s in-depth reporting and sources are what make “it’s not a TV” come together so well. The result is an exciting read, not hard to imagine it unfolding on Sunday night.