HBO Considers Subscription-Free Access

NBC may be out, but it now looks like HBO could be in when it comes to show sales on iTunes.

Portfolio.com quotes HBO insiders as saying the network is “close to announcing a deal” to offer its programs for individual download on the service. Interestingly, the insiders say HBO negotiated better terms than any other current content providers.

The move would open the closely-guarded gates to HBO programming and let non-subscribers get immediate access to hits like Entourage and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Currently, HBO offers online access only to people who are already paying for their television-based service.

Providing on-demand access without a subscription strikes me as a smart and long overdue move. Plenty of people don’t want to pay the monthly fee for channels they largely won’t watch, but buying a one-time episode of a quality show is a much less daunting investment. I’m just surprised it’s taken them this long to catch up with the world and come up with this plan.

The deal could also fill the gap left by NBC pulling its programs from iTunes last year. The peacock network moved its goods over to Microsoft’s Zune service instead, as reported on The Inquisitr earlier this month.