HBO considering offering online subscriptions to cable cutters

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 60
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    You hear that Comcast!  We don't need you.

  • Reply 42 of 60
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,802member


    I have 6 TV's in my house and to save a little money decided to cancel the DirecTV boxes on two of them which costs about $6 a month per box. That works out to  $144 savings a year. I put a digital antenna on both which picks up over 30 channels along with a Roku box on one for Netflix, Hulu and Plex server from my Mac pro. It has worked out so well I may now cut the chord on two more of my TV's. 


     


    If not for sports on ESPN and a few other channels like AMC for Walking Dead and Breaking Bad along with around 3 or 4 more channels I watch I would love to cancel DirecTV for good since I watch at most 20 channels out of the several hundred I am forced to pay for. 


     


    I hope HOBGo is the start of the end for the old model and allows us to just buy channels that we want o watch. Buying shows or seasons on iTunes is just too pricey for a show I will only watch once. 

  • Reply 43 of 60
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    For all those with non-cable/satellite systems, how does one get live news? Do the major news channels have live, concurrent with broadcast Internet streams? Their own apps?

  • Reply 44 of 60
    woochiferwoochifer Posts: 384member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post





    This is exactly what HBO is proposing and is the reason this is such a bad idea. The content producers and distributors are simply repackaging the same content in a different wrapping paper and ribbon.


     


    Then what is your solution?  And what revenue incentive is there for HBO to implement such a plan?  The HBO proposal is different from ESPN in that only the HBO subscribers get charged.  With ESPN, everybody who gets their broadband service from that ISP shares the cost. 


     


    The primary reason why HBO is considering standalone service options is because they see that pay TV growth has plateaued.  It's simple dollars and cents.  The household penetration of pay TV remains around 80%, which is about the same as cellphone service and higher than broadband service.  Among pay TV households, HBO has over 30% market capture, and they probably can't go much higher than that.  So, they are now looking to new markets. 


     


    The balancing act for them becomes how do they grow their net revenue base, knowing that their parent company (Time Warner) also happens to be the second largest pay TV operator and third largest ISP?  That's probably why this kind of ISP-direct billing is attractive for them, because they would still see a big chunk of the revenues. Overseas, where HBO does not have these kinds of inter-operational entanglements, they already sell standalone subscriptions to HBO Go.


     


    Stateside, HBO has substantially built up their streaming and on-demand options.  It serves a dual purpose for both existing subscriber retention, and as a future platform for a standalone service.  And that's really what future holds.  Even if the current pay TV system gets blown up, and we go to an a la carte programming model, then content will still be farmed out to the highest bidder or directly distributed by the content producers. 


     


    Right now, the content costs for streaming providers like Netflix and Amazon are rising way faster than their subscription base.  This means that the providers either need to raise fees, go to tiered service, or offer less programming.  And with the most recent round of content fee negotiations, the response has been to start dropping programs and movies (and in Netflix's case, to start producing their own original programs).  So, the end result will be having to cobble together multiple services in order to gain access to the programs most people want. 

  • Reply 45 of 60
    HBO Go as an option on Apple TV will not happen soon enough.
  • Reply 46 of 60
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    For all those with non-cable/satellite systems, how does one get live news? Do the major news channels have live, concurrent with broadcast Internet streams? Their own apps?


    1. Terrestrial Broadcasts ("Over-the-Air" aka "Antenna")
    2. ClearQAM
    3. Netcasts
    4. News aggregators
    5. The Internet
    6. "other"
  • Reply 47 of 60
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,802member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post





    1. Terrestrial Broadcasts ("Over-the-Air" aka "Antenna")

    2. ClearQAM

    3. Netcasts

    4. News aggregators

    5. The Internet

    6. "other"


    Most of our local news stations now offer live streaming broadcasts on their iPad apps as well. Every day it is getting easier and easier to eventually cut out cable or satellite for good. 

  • Reply 48 of 60


    Fantastic! I knew this day would come! image

  • Reply 49 of 60
    woochiferwoochifer Posts: 384member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gerald Thomas View Post


    Fantastic! I knew this day would come! image





    It's not here yet, and nobody knows how much HBO would charge for standalone streaming service.  All they said is that they are considering it, but that's no surprise to anyone who has used HBO Go.  It's a great app, and would seem like a relatively simple step to adapt it for standalone subscriptions, given that HBO already sells HBO Go subscriptions in overseas markets. 


     


    But, the money quote from the article is "We would have to make the math work."  And that equation is more complicated in the U.S., given that Time Warner also serves as a cable provider and ISP.  HBO has a subscriber base of around 28 to 29 million, and that has held steady for a few years now.  Highly anticipated series like Game of Thrones will typically spike HBO's subscriber numbers, and then they will get a round of cancellations when those shows' seasons conclude.  But, basically HBO will not see huge growth in its subscription counts in the near future.  OTOH, what is the actual upside in going to a standalone service?  Given that the vast majority of the audience already has access to HBO programming, this only matters to the 10-20% of households that do not currently have pay TV service.  While that's a growth opportunity for HBO, it's not huge.  Unless cord cutting really does catch on in a big way (and thus far, the numbers don't show that it has), HBO Go is simply a tool to retain their existing subscribers.  HBO Go is also HBO's hedge in the event that the overall pay TV subscriber counts plummet in the future.

  • Reply 50 of 60
    buzzzbuzzz Posts: 84member
    I love this idea but I would love it more If Apple could have it's own subscription service instead of the model it has now.
  • Reply 51 of 60
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    The idea behind the a la carte model is that we don't have such tastes. There are very few channels whose broadcast sets are even worth viewing. With this model no one channel would have a huge number of subscribers but every channel would have some, given that people like different things. Couple that with video iAds instead of the standard broadcast advertisements and the channel prices go way down since the ads can be targeted to the user and the channel can show 10,000 different advertisements at the same time



     


    If I'm paying $15 a month for HBO I better NOT be seeing iAds.


     


    Of course, I refuse to pay the $10/month or whatever Gee-isn't-this-channel-special amount it is my cable provider wants to add HBO to my service (what makes HBO think they're so bloody valuable?), so it doesn't seem likely that I'll be paying $15 for the same thing but with crappy internet-video quality.

  • Reply 52 of 60
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    Originally Posted by v5v View Post

    If I'm paying $15 a month for HBO I better NOT be seeing iAds.


     


    Why? You're already paying for it and seeing ads.






     with crappy internet-video quality.



     


    Obviously it wouldn't be.

  • Reply 53 of 60
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post


    I hope so...I also hope Formula One will do it too! :)



     


    I was just thinking that today... "I can buy individual episodes or a Season Pass for 'Family Guy' on iTunes, why can't I buy a subscription to F1?" I'd be especially willing to pay to download individual races that I missed.

  • Reply 54 of 60
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    For all those with non-cable/satellite systems, how does one get live news? Do the major news channels have live, concurrent with broadcast Internet streams? Their own apps?



     


    Our web site has the big stories hours before our broadcast. Plus you can watch only the stories that interest you rather than sitting through an hour of linear delivery. Don't tell anyone though, I'm hoping my job lasts a few more years.

  • Reply 55 of 60
    macbook promacbook pro Posts: 1,605member
    v5v wrote: »
    Our web site has the big stories hours before our broadcast. Plus you can watch only the stories that interest you rather than sitting through an hour of linear delivery. Don't tell anyone though, I'm hoping my job lasts a few more years.

    I am surprised that no one has leveraged mobile technology to revolutionize news gathering and dissemination. In my opinion there is a massive opportunity.
  • Reply 56 of 60
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post





    I am surprised that no one has leveraged mobile technology to revolutionize news gathering and dissemination. In my opinion there is a massive opportunity.


     


    No one wants to make a lot of noise about ways in which they might be using current tech to enhance their operations because one doesn't want to share that information with their competitors.

  • Reply 57 of 60
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member


    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Why? You're already paying for it and seeing ads.



     


    No, I am not. Like I said, I refuse to pay what they charge. The only reason they get away with it is because people have become so tolerant of TV commercials. I can't imagine why, when they would NEVER accept a similar arrangement in any other part of their life. How would people respond to ads in a paid app? They'd FREAK!


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post




    Quote:

    Originally Posted by v5v View Post


    [...] crappy internet-video quality.



     


    Obviously it wouldn't be.



     


    I'm not as sure that's obvious at all. In fact, I think the evidence, in the form of other online program delivery offerings, suggests that it almost certainly WILL be crappy internet quality. Netflix, GlobalTV, Hulu... they all look like crap much poorer than even the heavily compressed cable signal. What is there to suggest that HBO would be any different?

  • Reply 58 of 60
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    Originally Posted by v5v View Post

    No, I am not.




    Oh? Apologies; I didn't know the HBO channel had no advertisements.




    But that's true of every other channel save your local ones: you pay, but you still see ads.






    The only reason they get away with it is because people have become so tolerant of TV commercials. I can't imagine why, when they would NEVER accept a similar arrangement in any other part of their life. How would people respond to ads in a paid app? They'd FREAK!





    All the more reason it will work for streamed video content.


     


    It works for Hulu. And when the advertisements are intelligently catered directly to each individual (AND INTERACTIVE), they won't care as much (not even as much as Hulu).





    What is there to suggest that HBO would be any different?





    Ah, sorry, I meant Apple's solution, if any. You're probably right about HBO.

  • Reply 59 of 60
    v5vv5v Posts: 1,357member


    Quote:



    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    Oh? Apologies; I didn't know the HBO channel had no advertisements.



     


    As usual, I'm expressing myself about as clearly as a martian with a mouthful of marbles.


     


    I don't know for sure whether or not HBO has commercials, but I would guess it probably does. What I meant is that I am not prepared to pay what they seem to think their channel is worth. Whether it's via cable or internet, I don't feel the content is worth what they're asking. I also think it's unreasonable to make me pay for commercials. Commercials were the concession we made to get the content for free. To my mind they can sell advertising or charge me to view it but not both.


     


    Incidentally, that's why the only magazine subscriptions I've ever received have been free. I simply tell the publisher that I'm happy to receive it to increase their distribution numbers, allowing them to charge more for their advertising, but I'm sure as hell not going to pay for it. Over the years four publications have declined, but three have provided free subscriptions.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    But that's true of every other channel save your local ones: you pay, but you still see ads.



     


    Which is why I have only the most basic cable service possible. For the local stuff, I view it as paying to have the content delivered to my house, only because topography and geography make it inconvenient to pick up anything out of the air in my location.


     


    I've written to my cable provider explaining why we're not buying anything more than the base package. Like others have said in this thread, if enough people cut the cord, eventually the delivery model will HAVE to change.


     


     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    All the more reason it will work for streamed video content.



     


    I'm sorry, I don't understand. People will not accept advertising in a paid app, right? If they won't accept paying for advertising in one medium, how does that bolster the case for them accepting it in another?


     


    I think people are much LESS likely to accept paying for advertising via internet-streamed delivery because there's a different mindset around online content than there is towards TV. I don't know why people think that way, but I'm glad they do.

  • Reply 60 of 60
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    Originally Posted by v5v View Post


    I'm sorry, I don't understand. People will not accept advertising in a paid app, right? If they won't accept paying for advertising in one medium, how does that bolster the case for them accepting it in another?


     


    I think people are much LESS likely to accept paying for advertising via internet-streamed delivery because there's a different mindset around online content than there is towards TV. I don't know why people think that way, but I'm glad they do.



     


    Tradition, and nothing more. "It has been this way since forever, so it will continue to be" and "they've never known anything different, so not having it won't be much of a bother". 


     


    That flies completely in the face of everything toward which Apple should be working on this front, but there has to be some semblance of similarity or the content creators wouldn't agree EVER. 


     


    And it does ring true, somewhat. 

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