HBO News Blog

‘Don’t Expect HBO Shows on Hulu, Netflix Any Time Soon’ says HBO Co-president

By Jacob Klein on Nov 30, 2011 to HBO News

Top brass at HBO and Netflix have exchanged words about the possibility of providing HBO’s programming across a variety of platforms in the past.  Since the successful launch of HBO Go earlier this year, HBO has taken an even stronger position to that effect and most recently HBO’s Co-President, Eric Kessler told a gathering of industry big-wigs just this morning that there is no chance his company will make shows like True Blood or Game of Thrones available to digital non-subscribers.

Currently over 30 million people subscribe to HBO and most of them are given access to HBO’s own mobile delivery system, HBO Go.  The success of this program prompted some to wonder whether or not HBO would try to offer its content through various other online mediums such as iTunes, Hulu or Netflix.  In this down economy, many customers are “cutting the cord” on their cable and satellite companies which is currently the only way users can view HBO’s content.  (HBOGo Requires a cable/satellite subscription to function).  Kessler is undaunted by the prospect, saying HBO regards cord cutting as a temporary phenomenon that will go away once the larger economy improves. He also says that HBO will flourish under its current model thanks to its star power and because its partnership with cable companies allow it to avoid transaction costs like billing.

It is clear that HBO does not want to become the next Netflix.  But one has to wonder whether or not HBO would benefit from letting anyone in the world pay a small iTunes-like fee of $2.99 for a shiny new episode of Game of Thrones released in conjunction with the premiere of the episode on television.  The network has been so dominant in its field that you have to assume they know how to stay on top in this industry.  But what do you think?  Would you rather pay HBO per episode for it’s content via a service such as Hulu or Netflix or would you prefer the subscription you currently have via your cable provider?  Leave us a comment below with your thoughts!

  • Glenn Sedgwick

    It’s is the contraction of it is. Herein it’s is used as the possessive. Should be such as its engine. Similar to ours, hers, theirs. Please fix, as a high class outfit such as yours (There it is again, no apostrophe on yours.) should be looking high class in all aspects. I was a judge, and confess to being obsessive about this. I was in the “Wisdom Business”. Clearly you should hire me as your final proofreader. And please give lots of money and free HBO.

    Glenn Sedgwick
    West Allis, Wisconsin (Milwaukee suburb)

    • I never went to college and graduated from high school 40 years ago. I’m not saying that you’re wrong, but I’ve always had a problem with this possessive pronoun. It’s (its) usage is more like a noun than ours, hers, or theirs. In the latter case, the object of the pronoun always comes before the pronoun (e.g. the problem is ours, the car is hers, the house is theirs). With its/it’s the object comes after, just like with a proper or regular noun (e.g. John’s foot, the house’s roof, the gardener’s truck). Even though I believe that I’m technically wrong, I think that the possessive of it should have an apostrophe.

  • Peter

    Many of us are tired of arrogant cable corporations grossly overcharging for TV. I loved Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire, etc. but plan to drop HBO, rather than be tied to cable TV. I am “cutting the cord” but would gladly pay for HBO if you were willing to be flexible and bend with the trend, i.e. Hulu Netflix etc..

  • Lenetta Jackson

    If others such as starz Cinemax showtime etc followed suit Luke Netflix Hulu. They would make more money.

  • Sheila Rosner

    I would rather do without my favorite HBO shows than pay for a cable service in order to use HBOgo they have to offer. I do not think the president or CEO of HBO are looking long term at the big picture. They are going to loose more clients as more people find the need to cut back on their bills, and one of the bills people cut first is cable, and with HBOgo you have to have cable. By making a deal with Hulu, Netflix and iTunes they would have all their bases covered and not ostersize themselves from those clients who are paying now and find that when they fall on difficult times HBO had zero interest in what could be a benefit to their clients , but only what would increase their bottom line. I had Time Warner for years with HBO before becoming terminally sick, but now I have no access to any of the shows I watched on HBO after paying them for years, I see they how much they about the public / client ( zero ) their only concern apparently it is only how much money they can squeeze out.

    I am very disappointed in the President and CEO of HBO
    Sheila Rosner

  • Susan Beuerlein

    I would subscribe to any service that would allow me to cut the cord, and still see HBO…specifically Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley.

  • Moses

    I did a precursory Google search to confirm that HBO is owned by Time Warner Cable. Logically, it would seem that HBO is obligated to protect the interests of the cable companies and use their market position to hold out against alternative content providers for as long as it’s profitable.

  • Cassi

    HBO let us stream to our devices with a pay per episode!!!!!!! Please!

  • Clifton

    We gave up on cable about 2 years ago and have not missed it at all. We have subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu plus, and Amazon Prime. I’ll wait a year to purchase a show on amazon rather than pay $100+ a month. We save tons on money this way and don’t miss out on any of our shows.

    • John

      AGREE!! and will all the post below, people are wasting money!

    • It’s been over 10 years since I’ve had any kind of regular TV. I thought random access (streaming) TV would be the norm five years ago. No surprise, though. Change is painfully slow in our world.

  • Jim Miller

    To get HBO on Direct TV you have to take a package that costs $18 a month. Outch! That’s $216 a year! Starz? Cinemax? Who cares. We need to break up these monopolies. No cable options here. It’s either Direct TV, DISH or antenna.

  • Baby Boomer Sweede

    The economy has know to do with me cutting the cable cord. I got tired of paying high cable bills for a handful of channels that I watched. So, yes, like others stated, HBO is missing the boat here. I use free air TV, along with Hulu, and Amazon for my other show access.

  • Guerrilla

    The economy has nothing to do with it — like most of my generation, I just don’t waste money on overpriced, mostly useless fixed costs like landlines or cable TV. I would pay HBO a monthly subscription for streaming access via HBO Go or Netflix or Hulu — but not my cable company an additional $100 a month for hundreds of channels I’ll never watch. Why should I? I already pay them for Internet service, which suffices for almost everything.

    Join the 21st century, HBO. Let watchers subscribe to you directly and don’t go the way of Blockbuster, wedded to a dying system.

  • Sue

    The only way HBO will get money from me is paying per episode to stream from my computer or iPad. The down economy has nothing to do with it for me.

  • disqus_67cWkm5hqR

    HBO is missing the boat. There are many just like me who will not subscribe to the exorbitantly priced cable and satalite suppliers, but who would pay a small monthly fee/ or fee per episode to watch selected shows.
    Alternative viewing methods, i.e. Netflix, Amazon, Vudu used in conjunction with such units as Roku are the new wave of distribution.

  • Lisa Burton

    I would be willing to pay at fee of $10-$15 per month to add HBO to Netflix or Hulu. We are getting ready to dump cable because it has become so expensive. We are now paying $100 a month for HD service with HBO and we only have the second to the bottom tier of offered channels. On top of that, we have so many problems with the DVR that I’m surprised my husband hasn’t destroyed it yet! I am going to miss HBO though because I love the original programming.

  • RLK

    I came across this article while searching for possibilities of watching HBO programming online without cable or satellite. Got sick of my cable company years ago and I’m about to cut the satellite because $100 bucks a month for service that cuts out every time it rains is just too much. But I’d happily pay an extra $10 or 12 (on top of their regular price) for a Hulu or Netflix subscription that allowed me to watch HBO programming. HBO needs to pay attention; most kids these day consider tv obsolete, that’s the curve they need to stay ahead of.

    • Antonia

      i have said the same thing many times. i would rather wait 1 year for the shows to come out on netflix dvd than get satellite again! hbo SHOULD pay attention!

  • P.

    To pay per episode the cost would have to be very reasonable. To pay $2.99 a episode and $38.87 for a 13 episode season, I might as well keep my DirecTV service. Two shows would be $77.74 and that would almost cover my monthly cost for my whole package.

  • Trevor

    A. Most elderly people have cable.
    B. My mother lives in a very rural place, waiting for better internet to use Netflix, Hulu, etc.
    C. I am young college student who has 100% of friends that would not pay for cable ever!
    What I’m getting at, is even there is “X” amount of cable+HBO subscribers;
    A. Elderly people are not the thriving market of the future. No offense, just logic.
    B. Since the only internet in rural areas is very slow and expensive, and many times through a cable company, they almost make it more expensive to not get cable. However, times are changing, and even the boondocks will have high speed internet soon.
    C. Forget failed numbers! There is bigger market of people who want services like HBO BO, without cable. Plus a world audience that would engulf cables 30 million subscriptions. It’s not like those subscribers would disappear. With the fortune they pay for cable, I’m sure they would dish out money for HBO GO.

    Lastly. Everyone needs to remember that with a cable subscription, you are handed whatever crap cable channels throw at you for two years. If people have the ability to cancel and limit what they watch, there will a much bigger push for quality programming.

  • FSDA

    I will never sign up for cable again after cutting the cable about 4 years ago. Quality and customer service is so bad, and the product is so ridiculously expensive that it is not worth it. So, count me out of watching HBO shows forever until they decide to sell their shows some other way.

    • John

      AGREE!!! Customer service with DISH was HORRIBLE!! There’s not enough room for me to explain the headaches I had trying to simply deactivate them! PAIN IN THE @#$! Bundle deals, waste of money! When I was owed a refund… forget about getting your money the easy way. I had to go through numerous people on both ends (DISH, WINDSTREAM) took 8 months! Yes 8 months to get a $300 refund because of un-returned equipment. They claimed it was never sent, lost in a warehouse..ect.. it was not until I persistently called 3 times a week that someone finally took the time to find the so called lost? equipment and issue me a check. How many people give up and lose their $300 is what Im wondering? Save your receipts from UPS or whoever you use to mail it back. Trust me!

  • d

    It would be great to pay per episode!! we are having to cut our cable because we just can’t afford the $200 plus Bill. we love our shows but rent, food,and gas come first. Sorry HBO you gotta go its a luxury many of us just can’t afford time to change with the times HBO.

    • I think you’ll see this soon. HBO is way ahead of most networks when it comes to digital. They’re making a transition right now.

  • I’d really like if somebody would recognize, that there IS a german market for shows in their original language, espeially if it’s english.

    The only problem right now is, that i have no legal way of viewing anything new from them, because the networks are just too stupid to make contracts, which require the german TV-Industry, which they sell the rights to, to provide those shows.

    They are partially just laid on ice, beacause some stupid superintendent puts a primetime show in a nightspot and it doesn’t work that well in this time spot.

    Please: Find some way to make your shows available to other parts of the world too! I’m willing to pay for it – It just seems, that nobody wants my money^^
    The only option for me is my leftover US Itunes Account, which is problematic, because for that money, i could just import the Blurays.

    Besides: I’d even pay 90$ for DirecTV if there’d be any possibility of getting it in germany^^ even though this wouldn’t be my prefered choice.

  • David

    I would prefer that the possessive “its” not be spelled “it’s.” I would prefer that articles on the Internet be subject to copy-editing and proofreading. I would prefer that alternatives be expressed concisely and grammatically. I would prefer: “Would you rather obtain HBO episodes via a service like Hulu or Netflix, or via a cable subscription?”

  • Jane

    With the technological advances in TV it doesn’t make sense to hold onto cable unless you want convenience with the big price tag. I will always look for alternatives to the soon to be obsolete giant of traditional cable. Just about my whole family has gone with Hulu, Netflix, amazon and streaming from the computer with a HDMI cable. HBO may have some great shows admittedly, but they are a good ole boys club the refuses to come into the new generation of tv sans cable. If they offered their service like Hulu or Netflix, I would look into their service. But no way will I subscribe to a cable outfit for that. Crazy… Get with It HBO.

  • John

    Stupid move HBO. You are on the wrong side of the technological divide here. Do you really think that people are going to go back to cable just because of a few television shows? I loathe cable. Cable companies are fully capable of delivering an a la carte service yet they refuse. There is no way in hell I am going to pay for cable and then pay even more money to watch HBO shows. See there are still books and people who read and I am one of them.By siding with the cable companies HBO is just making itself another obstacle consumers will figure out a way to get around.

  • Derek

    As with all others, having to pay for a premium cable subscription is the pitts just so I can watch two or three networks. Please consider also providing a subscription based online-streaming service!

  • Jim

    I am a HBO subscriber and I am constantly looking for alternative to the cable/satellite monopoly. I hate the fact that I am forced to buy things I do not like and do not watch just so I can get the content I do want. Sooner or later things must change as most people you talk to today feel the same way. Also if you consider that real world wages have not changed since the 70’s, at the rate cable/satellite prices are growing it would not surprise me if they all went out of business as soon as a real alternative comes about.

    • A lot of people feel the same way, Jim. I’m going to do a big article on why HBO should do this soon. Waiting for the GoT hype to die down so I get some time. I think there are a lot of contracts and such we dont know about and thats why they cant tell Comcast to shove it.

  • Wes

    I really dont like having to pay for my cable/directv when there is hardly anything worth watching on the regular channels. I would be thrilled to pay a smaller fee to watch HBOGO or some service like Netflix/HULU. HBO seems to have this idea in mind with HBOGO and I think that it would be a real hit to be offered for people to subscribe only to it.

    • I think a lot of people agree with you. Hopefully someday soon we’ll see a 20$ online-only option or something! It’s true.. a lot of people just dont have access or cant afford 100$+ a month for cable w/ HBO!

      • Sam

        No truer words……good posts. People want to watch only what interests them; no one wants the rest of it. Per episode is a good idea and so is the exclusive hbogo online only. HBO will eventually have to morph into the future once it plateaus.

  • Karin

    I have always wanted to cut the cable/tv stranglehold and simply pay for “pay tv” directly. $100 per month plus additional add on for HBO and i still have to watch commercials….REALLY?
    I feel like a hostage; and based on that alone it is GONE forever! Once someone realizes that there is an alternative; why go back…..regardless of economic recovery….it is about not being a chump!

  • Chris

    I have a Roku and it beats the hell out of on demand services provided by cable companies, both in regards to cost and performance.

    I didn’t miss HBO when I dropped cable, because the programming had degraded at the time. But even with shows like Game of Thrones and Luck on the air now, I’m not going to subscribe to cable again and then HBO. Not a chance. I’ll watch it at friends or Netflix the DVD’s eventually.

    On demand, internet television is the future and it’s here. Broadcast TV is dying. HBO- get on board and allow customers to subscribe to your programming without requiring us pay cable providers ridiculous amounts of money for streaming junk. I want to give you my money!

    :D

  • Cynthia

    I would love to pay per episode or subscribe to HBO series. I love the HBO and Showtime Series…I don’t need 4-5 HBO channels. If I want to watch a movie, I do that via RoKu with my $8.95/ month HULU or Netflix PPV. It’s time to cut the cord and stop paying so much for something I don’t get full use out of. I want to use my internet connection as a pipe… and stream the content I want when I want it that where the future is.

    Cable TV is headed down the same road as the landline.

  • SuzyQ

    I agree with Dreamlife. I use ROKU and am VERY happy not to have a Cable. I would jump at the opportunity to pay for HBO GO on it’s own or a fee for a series so I can watch on my ROKU. Until then I will hold out….it’s not even the $ so much as I really don’t want ANYTHING on cable BUT HBO and I really don’t need the BS of dealing with that middle man company and more equipment/ paper bills calls. I want my instant HBO and I want to get rid of the middle man! I am willing to pay a premium for that, directly TO HBO.

  • Dreamlife

    I wish HBO would break away from Cable and offer its service separately. I would rather pay a monthly subscription (like Netflix) of $5-10 to get access to their original programming/movies streaming online and through my HDTV. It’s ridiculous to have to subscribe to premium cable (for channels I don’t even watch) just so I get the option to subscribe to HBO.

  • PatientZero

    I don’t view the internet viewing phenomenon as “temporary”. I think it will continue to gain steam until, one day, the internet will be the main platform for tv/movie viewing, rather than cable/satellite. The only reason to stay away from streaming would be to support the satellite/cable companies. The cable TV model is so antiquated that it will eventually fold. Why should the consumer be forced to pay for hundreds of channels that he/she does not watch?

    • I agree. In response to Mr. Elitist up there, affording cable is not the problem for many people. It’s that cable is like a 5 gallon bucket of candy corn with just a few fun sized snickers bars thrown in. In other words, it’s paying a premium for crap you don’t want, just so you can get a couple things you do want. Hulu and Netflix are nice services to alleviate this problem, but obviously don’t cover all the bases. What I believe a large number of us would prefer is to pay for HBO only and get around the whole fiasco of a cable subscription. I think I’m being Captain Obvious, but anyway, a way to watch HBO original shows sans cable subscription would be pretty great.

  • Jefd

    I like everything just the way it is. I kind of like the fact that as a loyal subscriber that my HBO content is not available to the masses but to only those who can afford the pay cable prices.

    • WarrenG

      Wow. Elitist, much?

      • lrosegaijin

        Elitist very much. I live in Japan and would dearly love to pay for a service that allows me to watch the TV shows i want, LEGALLY. Instead if i want to watch them, i am forced to download them ILLEGALLY. Where is the sense in that? Why not charge me 3 bucks a month or whatever and pocket the coin, rather than whinging and whining about people that pirate? Hulu and Netflix are such simple ideas, why can’t HBO and other networks do the same?










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