With Netflix being so popular with 50 million subscribers, HBO and other companies are looking to hop on board. HBO says that they are ready and the new Web-only service will be offered in 2015. Maybe now you can actually buy a service to watch Game of Thrones instead of pirating it.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler said the company will go “beyond the wall” and launch a “stand alone, over the top” version of HBO in the US next year, and would work with “current partners”, and may work with others as well. But we wouldn’t provide any other details.
But this is a major move for the HBO, Time Warner, and the TV business in general. For a while, Time Warner and HBO have said they’re happy with the existing model, where HBO is sold to consumers by TV providers, and is usually only available to customers who are already buying another bundle of TV networks. That arrangement generated $4.9 billion in sales for HBO last year, and kept pay TV providers like Comcast happy.
But now, under pressure from investors to show that Time Warner can squeeze more money from HBO, Plepler and Time Warner seem willing to risk changing their model. The move is good for HBO because they can market it to customers who aren’t interested in buying the “full bundle” of pay channels. Other bug networks are also speculating on future moves to sell content directly to customers. ESPN is one of them, but they are stressing that their service wont compete with ones they already offer.
It’s interesting to see major moves like this because for so long TV has dominated original video content for years now. But as people tire of massive bundles with hundreds of channels they never watch, online services provide something the people want. Netflix has proven that they are the future, so its only natural that others would want to hop on the bandwagon. What may become a larger issue though is that Internet Service Providers will be screaming about the increased strain on connection speeds, like they already have with Netflix. This sparked huge debates in the USA about Net Neutrality and the FCC is still deciding what to do about all this. All in all, TV is on its way out as more people switch to internet streaming services.