HBO considering the possibilty to offer HBO Go without cable subscription

It looks like things are moving slowly but inevitably towards the point where HBO’s streaming service HBO Go will be offered directly to customers with broadband access, cutting out the middle man in the form of cable TV providers.

Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner, HBO’s parent company, has made the strongest comment to date that indicates they are seriously considering the move, Quartz reports. Before anyone jumps with joy, it has to be said that no commitment has been made yet, and the statement is still relatively hedged.

What we’ve basically been doing, we’re looking at the market. We’ve been looking at our ability to service customers and our distributors /…/ So now the broadband opportunity is getting quite a bit bigger, and the ability of the plant to deliver something robust is getting stronger/…/We’re seriously considering what is the best way to deal with online distribution, but I don’t have anything to announce about it today.

Given the Guiness World Record rates of piracy Game of Thrones is reaching as we reported, and the rising popularity of HBO Go and streaming services in general, the move would be far from surprising at this day and age. (Offering reliable, convenient, and affordable alternatives is the only real way to deal with piracy, in my opinion.) There has definitely been a lot of clamouring for such a possibility, but existing deals with cable providers and HBO having to rely on those for the distribution of their programmes are, understandably, slowing down the process.

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    1. This idea is brilliant for 2 reasons. 1 it will increase HBO subscription sales. #2, it will screw over Time Warner’s competition. The only downside for Time Warner is that it might canabalize some of it’s own cable subscription sales. But since they own HBO it will do more damage to their competitors than it will to themselves

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    2. Even though I already have HBO, I think it’s a good idea. This way I’ll have less people bugging me for my HBO Go password.

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    3. Excellent idea. One hopes they will be able to offer it in the UK, but it will probably be difficult with rights, with GoT on Sky (and available on Sky Go).

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    4. I am all over this. My broadband provider also provides cable television which I don’t need and can’t afford. It is one or the other for me and many others. Instead of cable I subscribe to Netflix, Hulu and buy season passes from iTunes. So offer me an HBOGO subscription and you get more money from me.

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    5. They seem to act so slowly , no doubt that there is a lot of red tape to sort out or whatever but you would think they would offer something , even if they just charged a couple of pounds/dollars to watch each episode as it airs , I’d much prefer to pay something like that than to have to keep doing what I do now by streaming it but I have no HBO in the UK and there is no way I’m subscribing to an entire different TV provider just to watch one TV show.

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    6. well … given what I would have to pay in my country to watch GoT…

      TV license: 18€ per month
      cable fees: 22€ per month
      Sky Atlantic: 25€ per month

      thats a total of 65€/$85 per month … so I’m waiting for a more affordable alternative…

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    7. minty:
      well … given what I would have to pay in my country to watch GoT…

      TV license: 18€ per month
      cable fees: 22€ per month
      Sky Atlantic: 25€ per month

      thats a total of 65€/$85 per month … so I’m waiting for a more affordable alternative…

      That’s about what I pay for Comcast Xfinity ~$85 a month. Comes with high speed internet, HD cable, dvr, and free HBO

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    8. The piracy will only really stop if once paid for an episode/season, you retain access to it “forever”… (be it online or with the ‘pledge’ for a hard-copy when box sets become available) Also, it should be accessible to people in ALL countries, otherwise not much will change, considering the number of downloads from outside of the States.

      I think it will still take a decade before the film/tv industry fully adapts to the idea of a regionless world wide web distribution model…

      [edit: wow, 3 or 4 hours edit time now?]

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    9. I live in Japan. There is simply no legal way for me to watch Game of Thrones Season 4 yet. I will purchase it legally (on Amazon Instant Video) as soon as it is available just as I did S1-S3, and indeed, I would have been willing to pay a premium to have a legal way to watch S4 last April-June. Instead of collecting $40 from me next January, HBO could have easily collected $60 from me last April. But they chose not to. Go figure.

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    10. HBO Nordic is currently available in Scandinavia, either via your IPTV or directly via the Internet no matter who your Internet provider is. Cost is about 10 euros per month. I think it’s really good value for money, especially since they also show some series from other US cable networks, such as Cinemax and Starz. I don’t see why this model couldn’t work in other countries as well, but of course just because you think it’s logical, there may be contractual issues involved that make it difficult.

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    11. minty:
      Turncloak,

      Yeah forgot about internet… currently paying 30€/$39 per month oO

      IPTV would cost about 50€/$65 per month… :p

      Yea I will probably get rid of Comcast soon though. They always try to jack up the prices on me after every 6 months -_-. Then I call them to disconnect and they lower the prices and rope me back in

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    12. Tar Kidho,

      Eh, I dunno. I have used Torrents, and HBO GO, as well as Amazon Prime and I prefer much the “stream as you go” model to keeping a bunch of torrents around.

      I’m just going to have to re download the torrent next time I want to watch it anyway because I’m not keeping terabytes of movies/TV on my hard disks, so why not just stream? I’m happy to pay for a service as long as I’m using it on a regular basis. For example, Amazon Prime.

      Of course if people don’t want to pay for something AT ALL they will still torrent. But that’s like, duh.

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    13. Don’t want to be wet blanket man, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Game of Thrones will probably at the end of it’s run before this will happen.

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    14. This would be great if they continue to support HBO GO on the Roku — currently you can use HBO GO on the Roku if your cable provider allows it, but mine does not, despite being in the loop whenever I want to use it on my laptop or tablet.

      If they change the HBO GO app on the Roku so it goes directly to HBO, no longer requiring an intervention from my cable provider to “prove” I am subscribed to the service, this would be a win for me.

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    15. Would love it! Have Comcast tv, internet, land line with HBO and showtime plus 4 HD boxes. Price for me and my honeys entertainment $240 per month. Never gonna be able to retire,

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    16. Oh man. I’ve been hoping for this for awhile. Hbo is the biggest reason I have satellite. There’s also a lot of other things I watch on all my channels but I think I could get away with just having hulu netflix and hbo go

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    17. If HBO does offer it as a stand alone service in the US, I hope it’s similar to Netflix rather than a traditional cable subscription. Given how cyclical traffic is now on HBO Go, I could its subscription numbers peaking from April to June and then dropping after that. GoT and True Detective were the only shows to have crashed it so far, and only GoT has a semi-confirmed return date. Most of the air date rumors for TD’s second season have it airing sometime summer 2015 at the earliest.

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