HBO: Sorry, Cord Cutters, We Don’t Want Your Money…Yet
Yesterday, we told you about a new site called TakeMyMoneyHBO that promoted a simple message: Those of us that don’t have cable subscriptions want to be able to watch HBO programming, and we will gladly pay for it. The site’s creator, web designer Jake Caputo, says that people who currently pirate HBO shows like Game of Thrones would gladly stop and fork over some cash if HBO would offer an independent, web version of their HBO Go app.
And it looks like he was right – tens of thousands jumped on the bandwagon and tweeted what they would pay for such a service. Some offered $5, while others offered $20 a month. The average, as calculated by Caputo, was around $12. If you’re familiar with the prices or current streaming services, you know that the $12 price point means users were willing to pay more for just HBO content than they entirety of Netflix’s streaming offering.
Although there’s obviously massive support for a standalone service from HBO, the company has responded by basically saying, “Nah, not now, it’s not good for us.”
Here’s the tweet HBO sent out on Wednesday evening:
Their allusion to TechCrunch’s Ryan Lawler is based on an article he wrote about the TakeMyMoneyHBO initiative where he outlined why it wouldn’t be practical for the company to offer what the people clearly want.
He cited the possible cost to implement the standalone service as well as the break with cable subscribers as a reason against a web-only HBO Go service.
What would happen if HBO no longer had the pay TV industry’s marketing team propping it up all the time? The results would be disastrous, and there’s no way that HBO could make up in online volume the number of subscribers it would lose from cable. Which is why, even though some users would actually pay more for access to HBO GO without all the other cable channels, you won’t see it show up as a standalone service anytime soon.
I also agreed that the promotion derived from HBO’s cable partners is currently invaluable to the company. Although there is currently a huge groundswell surrounding this issue, it’s most likely against HBO’s best interests to provide something, which on the surface, looks like such a no-brainer.
Then again, HBO left the window open a bit with the whole “for now” part. Cord Cutters can still hope that somewhere down the road, things change and HBO sees the value in giving them what they want.