No HBO GO without a cable subscription

Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner, said on Wednesday that the company has no plans to offer HBO GO without a cable subscription.

This will make a lot of people very unhappy.



  • Domicinator

    Well, it will also not make HBO very happy in the end. More people pirate Game of Thrones than watch it on actual HBO. They will simply continue to see this trend if they don’t get with the times. People are cutting the cord more and more.

    • lucascott

      They could solve that for some folks by just releasing it as it airs on sources like ITunes, Amazon etc

      • http://digitizedsociety.tumblr.com/ DigitizedSociety

        It doesn’t matter. TimeWarner wants to get people to subscribe to HBO over the course of the year so that people are paying for HBO when Game of Thrones isn’t on. Time Warner, a cable provider, wants a cable subscription to be a requirement in order to get HBO content.

        • lucascott

          Well of course. But when the alternative is that folks, who don’t want to pay for cable just to get HBO, are turning to things like Bittorrents to get the shows for free.

          It’s just lame of TWC/HBO to turn down some money because it’s not as much as they want in order to piss folks off and get no money.

          Even just letting folks subscribe to HBO Go directly is a level of win or them because once in, few folks are going to cut the subscription when that one show is off, simply because they will forget. Or HBO could do it on a scale system. $25 a month if you pay by the month but if you do it a year at a time it works out to $20 a month. And many would pay that just for the main HBO not the HBO2, HBO3, archives etc. They could go even higher if they included that stuff. And many would pay

          • http://digitizedsociety.tumblr.com/ DigitizedSociety

            It seems like TWC has decided that leaving some consumer digital consumption money on the table is not nearly as much as the money they could loose by loosing Year Long HBO Subscribers + Year Long Cable service.

  • http://www.thepapermail.com/ Jacob Penderworth

    What a stupid initiative.

  • nuttmedia

    Comcast/TWC/ATT/Verizon etc stared them down and they blinked.

  • EVula

    I’d like to think that their position is based on their hands being tied by their existing contracts with cable companies, because otherwise, this is an insanely stupid position to take. I don’t have cable, but I’d happily pay ~$10 a month for access to HBO GO.

    • http://www.chausse.org/ Jeff Chausse

      Via their contracts with cable companies, they make money from 1/3 of all households in America. Poor HBO :)

    • The White Tiger

      I think you’d have to be willing to cough up more than that. HBO costs more like $15-20 WITH television service.

      • EVula

        And that may be the stumbling block. Netflix is $8 a month and, while they don’t compare to HBO at all in the original content department (Arrested Development notwithstanding), they’ve got significantly more content.

        Part of why the iTunes Music Store did so well in the age of Napster was that it was cheap and easy to pay for content; $1 and bam, you have a song. HBO may be (justifiably) worried that they can’t get non-cable subscribers for the premium price that they’re used to.

      • lucascott

        I’d still be willing if I didn’t have to pay $50 for the privilege of paying that $20

    • lucascott

      One of those existing cable companies is their parent company. So that at least should be cake to deal with, if they wanted to.

  • samdchuck

    Good thing that they see piracy as a compliment and not as a problem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcus-R-Moore/676140569 Marcus R. Moore

    I think their contract with cable providers probably explicitly states they can’t. If they decide they’re going to do it, it will mean a renegotiation and likely a substantive drop in revenue from all their current partners. And for the moment, HBO probably sees more “for sure” income from their existing model. That’s likely to change, but it will be when there’s a clear fiscal advantage. Who knows what proportion of people who are pirating HBO shows would pay for it even given the opportunity.

    iTunes made paying for music easy, but there’s still loads of cheap fuckers stealing it.

    • kibbles

      this is anecdotal but i know lots of people who purchase Season Passes on itunes rather than pirate. its easier.

      and thats what it all boils down to, for most people. see the rampant mainstream music piracy prior to itunes music store making it stone simple to get the music you want.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marcus-R-Moore/676140569 Marcus R. Moore

        And I think people would be happy to do that if HBO shows were available less than a year after their initial broadcast. GoT previous season comes to iTunes JUST as it’s current season premiers.

        • lucascott

          Bingo. HBO shows don’t turn up until at least the start of the next season and they are crazy high priced. And some Warners shows from broadcast don’t show up ever. Person of Interest is almost done with season 2 and only the score album is up, no episodes from Season 1 or 2.

          And it’s worse if you aren’t in the US.

          The world has gone social. People didn’t stop talking around the watercooler when the debates about the true story in Lost and whether the ending was awesome or a BS cop out ended. No one wants to be the one to say “I’m havent seen it cause i’m too cheap to pay for cable” etc. So they will get it one way or another

  • http://www.chausse.org/ Jeff Chausse

    HBO makes its money from 40,000,000 paying cable subscribers. That’s about 1/3 of ALL US households. Money lost to piracy is a drop in the bucket. To piss off the cable companies would be suicidal. I’m not saying I wouldn’t want this either, but HBO knows how its bread gets buttered.

  • def4

    I understand that they don’t want to cannibalise their cable revenues, but I don’t understand why they refuse to offer HBO Go subscriptions at a 2x – 4x premium.

    They are perfectly right to ignore those who would only pay as much as the cost of a Netflix subscription. So charge $30 and see how many people really only need one channel or two.

  • Jay Martin

    Yet one more old-style media company that’s skating to where the puck is rather than where it will be. Netflix, Hulu, TOLN, and other new media companies that are now producing their own content is where things are going. Attempting to live comfortably on your cash cow will only get you so far – tons of historical examples. That’s what disruptive technologies are all about.

  • http://twitter.com/Kosmatos Odi Kosmatos

    Woops, I just cancelled my cable subscription last month.

  • imthedude

    It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

  • GTWilson

    Appears they don’t want my money then.

  • http://thinkitcreative.com/ Patrick Gant

    This will make Netflix very happy.

  • Doctorossi

    I certainly hope no one is surprised by this confirmation.

  • Michael

    Really? The exec of a cable company is saying that the content his company has control over is only going to be available to cable subscribers and this is somehow surprising to someone?

    They create content cause they want you to use their services to serve you ads. Its their business model….its going to take a lot to get them to change that.

    • http://twitter.com/jeffzugale Jeff Zugale

      When did HBO start running ads? ;)

  • crateish

    HBO programs are just about the only programs that I know of that are pirated by people of a certain age.