Big QuestionsOur work related to complex challenges.

The Challenge

Help a leading American premium cable and satellite television network stay ahead of the market.


A reimagined audience experience and comprehensive product and service development roadmap.

Most people are used to watching their favorite shows whenever and wherever they want these days. But 10 years ago, that wasn’t the case. Far ahead of the curve, HBO realized the potential for carving out its own audience, and created one of the first original on-demand offerings that allowed viewers to cut the cord from cable and satellite providers. HBO came to IDEO for help in navigating the future of its audience experience that would be distinguished from cable, and would put full control in the hands of the viewer.

With special emphasis on HBO’s Video On Demand offering, IDEO began early-phase research to explore people’s experience with the media brand and found that it centered largely on the viewing of HBO shows, the most critical part of the media experience. But other important media-related activities—learning about new shows, planning to watch new shows, creating the right viewing environment, saving and sharing viewing experiences—were either underserved or controlled by HBO’s cable and satellite partners. IDEO concluded that HBO’s challenge would be to develop a media service that holistically addressed the media consumer’s entire journey and allowed subscribers to experience HBO wherever and whenever they wanted.

To demonstrate the value of the entire media consumption journey, IDEO created a comprehensive product development and user experience vision. This vision was delivered in the form of an immersive environment, built on-site at HBO, which conveyed key customer values and behaviors and presented a roadmap for building the appropriate products and services. Included in this roadmap were future scenarios and tools that invited prototyping and exploration.

Content discovery—and the ability to save and share viewing experiences—was one key feature of the new media consumption journey.

A gallery walk invited HBO teams to better understand the new user experience and features viewers would find most compelling.

In the 10 years since the original collaboration with IDEO, HBO has pioneered the path forward for media brands by setting the standard for a world-class array of content and accompanying viewer experience model.

The collaboration was foundational for us, serving as our guidepost for creating more personalized on-demand and online viewer experiences.

Bernadette Aulestia, Executive Vice President, Global Distribution at HBO

"The collaboration was foundational for us, serving as our guidepost for creating more personalized on-demand and online viewer experiences. This early work influenced what would become our streaming presence—from categorization to how the products rolled out—and ultimately led us to design the next generation of user-inspired products for a more highly engaged audience," said Bernadette Aulestia, Executive Vice President of Global Distribution at HBO.

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