HBO GO may soon drop the requirement that viewers subscribe to HBO through cable or satellite to gain access to the service.
HBO is responsible for some of the best story telling ever creative for TV, but lots of people who love shows like True Blood, Game of Thrones, Girls, and The Network aren’t willing to spend thousands of dollars a year on channels we don’t want just to get a few shows we love.
Richard Plepler runs HBO and thinks they currently have the right business model but suggests, “Maybe HBO GO, with our broadband partners, could evolve.”
HBO is thinking about making HBO GO something you can subscribe to in a package with broadband just as HBO is part of a cable or satellite subscription. The extra fee would be $10-20 dollars a month.
Last year Web designer Jake Caputo launched a site called “Take My Money HBO.” It offered a platform to tweet to HBO telling them how much we were willing to pay. Dominic Balasuriya joined the mission and created a script to capture data from the tweets.
Within the first 48 hours “Take My Money HBO” had 163,673 people visit the site to submit a tweet. HBO sent a single tweet the morning after the campaign’s launch to say, for now, standalone HBO isn’t something they’re ready to do:
— HBO (@HBO) June 6, 2012
On average, people would pay about $12 a month for stand alone access to HBO GO. Through agreements with cable and satellite companies, HBO currently gets $7 or $8 per subscription. By not providing a way for people without cable or satellite, HBO is missing out on thousands of customers begging to pay them.
The reason HBO is willing to do that is that subscribers to the channel are not HBO’s customers. HBO’s customers are the cable and satellite companies that distribute them. The last thing HBO is willing to do is upset long established relationships with their existing business partners to reach deliver content directly to viewers willing to pay.
It’s taking time because HBO is working out a way to provide standalone HBO GO in a way where everyone wins.