Watching HBO online can be complicated. In this day and age you would think that the award winning app, HBOGo would be something that was available to anyone willing to pay for an HBO subscription. But alas, HBOGo is only available to those with a current, traditional cable subscription, a model that many experts think is fading with the influx of streaming services such as Hulu and Netflix. How quickly will that transition take place? It may be a little slower than some internet savvy, cord-cutting millennials would like.
Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO’s parent company, Time Warner spoke to the issue at an investor conference this weekend.
“Up until now it didn’t look like a good idea to shift HBO’s focus. Now the broadband opportunity is getting bigger, which makes the question of a taking HBO Go direct to consumers more viable and more interesting.”
Comcast and HBO have even started an experiment to test that opportunity where they’ll give you basic local channels, high-speed internet and HBO for under50 bucks. Bewkes says that venture has succeeded.
We’ve heard HBO brass flirting with this idea of unchaining HBOGo before and Bewkes has committed to doubling down on HBOGo specifically. So good things are definitely coming our way in the coming years. But WHEN will users be able to subscribe to HBO without a cable subscription? Here’s more from Bewkes:
“We have the rights. We can do it if we want to now. But we don’t want to do anything that’s not at a high level.”
Well, that doesn’t mean much now does it? Isn’t everything HBO “high level”? The CEO of CBS commented more specifically speaking to his network, Showtime specifically:
“Everybody in the media business is thinking about what is the most appropriate way to market your product. … Is there some time in the future when that could happen? Absolutely. I don’t know when that is.” He added, though, that “over the next three to five years, the business will change dramatically.”
So there you have it folks. HBOGo will probably be freed from Comcast and their sometimes-evil fellow cable company friends. CBS thinks that might happen in 3-5 years. That sounds about right to us.
It’s going to take some time to shift to this brave new digital world. HBOGo still crashes under the strain of a big premiere or finale. And so far the economic numbers just haven’t added up for catering to cord-cutters in the USA vs alienating the cable companies that helped to build HBO to what it is today. Believe me, if they did they’d be all over it. Money talks.
We’ll keep you up to date with all the latest future of television news. Until then, enjoy watching HBO wherever you can.