That noise you hear? It sounds a bit like a choir? Oh, that's just the heavenly angels singing in exaltation over news that HBO might be considering a streaming only service.
With more people cutting cable everyday, it isn’t hard to imagine that premium channels like HBO and Showtime are perhaps starting to feel the pinch. True, customers are likely still purchasing their favorite shows through online vendors like iTunes or Amazon, but let’s be honest, there are likely quite a few more who are procuring their programming through slightly less legal means. So how can it be stopped? What could a premium cable channel do that would convince a viewer to come back and enjoy everything the channel offers, not just what shows they have downloaded?
Well HBO is trying their hand at one solution – online streaming only subscriptions. HBO Go exists already, but is only accessible through a cable or satellite log in. For years, fans of the HBO have been clamoring for the ability to have HBO as a stand alone option. Why pay for an entire cable or satellite package when really you just want to watch Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire when it airs?
This sounds heavenly right? Well, like all great things in life, there is a catch. The deal with streaming only HBO is only available to new Comcast customers right now.
The package is essentially what many cord cutters, and Game of Thrones fans, have been asking for: a way to legally watch their favorite shows online over a speedy internet connection, without paying for expensive, full-scale TV packages that they never watch. To get a sense of how little the basic TV service adds to the cost of Internet Plus, one needs only to look at Comcast’s other $39.99 package. That deal is made up of the same 25 Mbps internet connection paired with telephone service — with no television or streaming video options at all. — The Verge
Not the best news if you aren’t in a Comcast area, or are already a Comcast customer, but it does signal a shift in thought among content providers. Could we be on the cusp of “pay for what you want” when it comes to television programming? Hard to say for sure, but all signs are pointing to a strong, maybe.