HBO Executive Said to Be Top Candidate for Ambassador Post
He's not involved in the content production side but it's still worth noting that there is quite a bit of discussion about how HBO executive James Costos has been angling for an appointment to be President Obama's ambassador to Spain.
According to the Associated Press, Costos and his boyfriend were some of the most successful "bundlers" for Obama, people who combine their donations with others' to really raise cash quickly. It is quite common for presidents of all parties to give ambassador positions to their financial contributors.
The Spanish media focused not only on the fact that Costos would come with his partner -- famed decorator Michael Smith -- and be the first high-profile, openly gay couple in the post, but also that Costos would likely focus energy on fighting Spain's rampant digital content piracy. Costos is vice president of global licensing and retail, consumer marketing for HBO. Costos and Smith are currently based in Los Angeles.
"HBO series, like Sex in the City, The Newsroom or Veep, are among the victims of online piracy, one of the main worries of the American concerns about Spain," Spanish daily El Mundo wrote this weekend in a two-page spread speculating on Costos and Smith's, perhaps, imminent arrival in the country. "If his appointment is confirmed, Costos will be particularly sensitive to this subject and ready to pressure the Spanish government to control the illegal downloads of video and books."
A 2012 GFK study for the Anti-Piracy Federation estimated some 84 percent of digital content consumed in Spain comes from illegal downloads.
What a nice thing it would be for the entertainment industry to have someone basically act as its employee while being the employee of all Americans.
HBO has also been one of the most prominent television backers of Obama and is the employer of $1 million Obama donor Bill Maher.