F*** it, cut the cord! I’ve had that Rage Against The Machine song stuck in my head all morning as news arrived of HBO’s online plans. The much-adored cable channel has held a stoic position of only supporting its current business model – in other words, sell content to premium channel bouquets and broadcasters. This despite the overwhelming online ‘support’ for its programming in the form of Internet piracy. It has also rebuffed offer by the likes of Netflix to host its shows. Technically you could watch stuff online through HBO Go, but only if you were already a cable subscriber.
Well, the channel has changed its mind and announced an online streaming service will launch at the start of next year. What it will cost and who will be able to access it is still a mystery, but you know proxy users are going to sign up anyway. HBO reckons there are 80 million people who don’t have HBO in the U.S. and it is probably tired of them simply downloading new episodes of Game Of Thrones.
It’s a gamble for HBO, as cable companies might feel reluctant to now license its shows. But that’s unlikely to happen – a lot of people get cable to access HBO, so few broadcasters will be stupid enough to think they can bully HBO and win. Also, HBO needs to do this if it wants to remain relevant and gain a seat at the VOD table.
Last Updated: October 17, 2014