I'm sure you all remember that amazing comic from The Oatmeal that depicts what happend when the creator decided to watch HBO's smash series Game of Thrones.
With credit card in hand, he took to the interwebs to try and find a place to legitimately purchase the show. First, he tried Netflix to no avail. Then he went to iTunes, only to find out that the show wasn't available yet (even though it had been airing for months). A trip to Amazon and brief search of Hulu Plus were disappointing as well.
"Of course," he thinks. "I'll just buy it straight from the source - HBO themselves." But as you might have guessed, he quickly found that a cable subscription was required to use HBO's streaming service, HBO Go.
And with that, he opened up uTorrent and grabbed the entirety of season one in a few minutes.
As it turns out, that comic doesn't look like it's that far off in portraying the prospective HBO audience. In fact, in the last couple of days, thousands of people have taken to Twitter to ask HBO to take their money courtesy of the new site takemymoneyhbo.com.
"Take my money, HBO. We pirate Game of Thrones, we use our friend's HBOGO login to watch True Blood. Please HBO, offer a standalone HBOGO streaming service and TAKE MY MONEY!"
The new site, started by web designer Jake Caputo, asks people to tweet how much they would pay for a monthly standalone HBO Go streaming service - you know, without the confines of a cable subscriptions. And oh how the cordcutters have responded in droves. As of earlier this morning, Caputo reported that 30,000 tweets have already rolled in.
And the average price that people say they would be willing to pay? Around $12, which we can all agree is more than reasonable (and more than a month of Netflix's entire streaming service). If you do the math, that's already a few hundred thousand dollars for HBO a month.
The number of tweets must be closer to 50K or more as of now. Caputo reported 21,000 tweets tagged #takemymoneyhbo in the first three hours.
So, it's abundantly clear that people are willing to pay 10, 15, even 20 dollars for all of HBO's content - free of any other burdens. And on the surface is looks like HBO is just tossing money down the drain with their noncompliance. But it would be unlike a company like HBO to turn down more money, so it's possible that the costs of implementing a standalone streaming service for HBO Go outweighs the benefits in their eyes. Plus, taking such action would be a bitchslap in the face of cable providers, who provide HBO with valuable promotion.
Then again, Game of Thrones is on its way to being the most pirated show of the year. That's because it truly is a massive pain in the ass to watch HBO shows without a cable subscription and without torrenting. And if public sentiment always ran the world, you'd be able to streaming the newest episode at the same time your buddy was watching it through his cable box. Unfortunately, HBO has a history of being stubborn with its content. The community reaction on this initiative is impressive, but I wouldn't hold my breath for quick, resolute action from the folks at HBO.