HBO GO without the Cable Subscription? HBO CEO Says Maybe, Possibly, Down the Road. Maybe.By: Josh Wolford - March 22, 2013
There is a lot of awesome content coming from HBO. The venerable premium cable network has produced some of the best shows to ever grace the small screen (The Wire, The Sopranos), and currently produces some of the most interesting (Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire) and popular (True Blood) programs around.
Because the content is so good, people are willing to do just about anything to get to it. For some, that means paying over $100 a month for a cable subscription + HBO. For others who have cut the cord on cable, that usually means pirating it.
But that’s not because they’re cheap, or because they think that the content isn’t worth paying for. Quite the contrary, actually. At least one online campaign showed that people are more than willing to pay HBO, directly, for their content.
And until now, HBO has shut down any and all hopes of their content moving out from under the cable subscription umbrella. Until now.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler gave cordcutters a glimmer of hope this week. Speaking at the Game of Thrones season 3 premiere, Plepler said that offering HBO content (via HBO GO, the company’s on demand content hub) without requiring a cable subscription could maybe possibly might just may be an option, down the line, maybe.
“Right now we have the right model,” Plepler told Reuters. “Maybe HBO GO, with our broadband partners, could evolve.”
He went on to say that they would “have to make the math work.”
Not exactly a signal that HBO is planning to give up on the lucrative cable subscription-based model that has served them so well for so many years, but it sounds like Plepler is aware that the times may be a’ changing. Although abandoning the traditional distirubtion system system may be a shaky business call, Plepler seems to understand that there is an availability issue with HBO content:
“Doesn’t mean we are not mindful that the problem exists,” he said.
If HBO decided to go this route with an internet-packaged HBO deal, they know that they would have plenty of support for the venture. Last summer, a viral campaign saw hundreds of thousands of people take to Twitter and shout, “Take my money, HBO!”
The campaign was simple. Give us a standalone HBO GO service, free of cable requirements, and take our money. As in we’re ready to pay you for your content if you will just let us. People tweeted the price that they might pay for such a service, and the average was an impressive $12+ per month – a couple bucks more than Netflix. Some people even said that they would pay well over $20 per month for a cordless HBO GO service.
The effort received over 163,000 supporters in just two days.
Shortly after, HBO dismissed the whole thing with a single tweet, basically saying that their model was the right model for now. Thanks, but no thanks.
But these few words from HBO’s CEO gives cordcutters a little bit of hope that HBO could break at least a few of their ties with cable. It’s not like it would be a first for the company. Last year they launched HBO Nordic, a standalone streaming service like HBO GO, in Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Denmark. It’s available for under 10 euros per month.
Hope. Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.