HBO GO is the only (legal) way to stream HBO’s original programming like Girls, Game of Thrones, and Boardwalk Empire and classics like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under to your web-enabled TV, computer or mobile device. The service, which also includes HBO’s current catalog of movies, isn’t available to just anyone—you have to be an HBO subscriber through your cable provider. However, at a time when many people are cutting costs and eliminating cable services, it seems like HBO and its partners are considering offering an online-only option.
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Ever since the season three premiere of Game of Thrones the rumour mill has been buzzing. According to Reuters, CEO Richard Piepler said at the event, “Maybe HBO GO, with our broadband partners, could evolve.”
If HBO GO were offer an alternative option to pricey cable subscriptions, that would be a huge boon to many. HBO could see much of the revenue it is losing from piracy return, just as music streaming services have slowed music piracy. A new market full of young viewers would get the chance to see what the cable powerhouse is doing, but subscribers wouldn’t lose anything, and perhaps could get some extra VIP perks. The a la carte service has been around for a while in Scandinavia and seems to be doing well.
Or, this might never happen—contradictory opinions abound. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes stated “we have the rights to do it and we would do it if we thought it was in our economic best interest,” which has half the blogosphere convinced the plan is dead in its tracks.
Will we ever see HBO GO available for purchase without a cable subscription?
I think we’ll see a possible pay-as-you go option in the near future and streaming is inevitable down the line. However, it seems unlikely that with 40 million subscribers either HBO or the cable providers are going to do anything too drastic and risk losing some of their customer base to the internet where Nielsen ratings have yet to follow.
But we want to know what you think. Would you subscribe to a stand-alone HBO GO streaming service? Would you feel it was unfair to offer one if you already subscribe through cable or satellite? And most of all: Is the HBO GO service worth paying a premium for?
VIDEO: HBO GO is currently available to existing cable customers with a subscription to HBO. The streaming service includes access to every episode of the most popular HBO TV shows.
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