It’s what we’ve wanted for years, and the lack of a stand-alone HBO Go service is a large part of the reason why Game of Thrones is the most pirated show of all time. We all want HBO, but not all of us want to pay (or can afford to pay) for a $100 to $150 cable subscription to get HBO. Because with most cable packages, not only do you have to pay for cable, but you have to pay for a premium subscription with 100 channels before you can even get HBO.
That’s about to change.
Speaking with investors, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes said that up until recently, “it didn’t look like a good idea to shift HBO’s focus,” but that the “broadband opportunity is getting bigger,” making HBO Go direct to consumers is “more viable and more interesting.”
In fact, Time Warner is about to release promising data about from an experiment they have been running in which they bundled HBO Go with Internet service and the broadcast network channels only for $50 a month (or, basically the cost of Internet service plus HBO now). “There’s no technological or contractual obstacle to changing the delivery scheme. “We have the rights. We can do it if we want to now,” he said.
It sounds like they’re still working out the details, but expect that package to be an option soon. Of course, the downside is this: To get that package, you’re probably going to have to sign up for Time Warner Internet service, so there’s a catch. THERE’S ALWAYS A CATCH. We may soon find that ISP and cable networks will have exclusive deals with one another, meaning if we sign up for Comcast, we get a better deal on Showtime or something.
Speaking of which, Les Moonves — the big dog over on CBS, which is owned by the same company that owns Showtime — basically said that a direct-to-consumer option for Showtime is probably no later than three to five years away.