In a world where appointment television is giving way to services like Hulu and Netflix, HBO GO lives in a weird middle-ground. While HBO GO is a service that allows people to watch HBO programming over the Internet on devices or via browser, it also requires its users to already be subscribed to HBO's cable service to get the service. This alienates a lot of people who are cutting the cord on traditional cable service in favor of these services, not to be augmented by them.
HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler said,
Right now we have the right model. Maybe HBO GO, with our broadband partners, could evolve.
He suggested that the service could be packaged with Internet packages instead of cable services, allowing non-cable subscribers to access HBO's content. While the existing setup is profitable for HBO, which is not something other cable stations have been able to say, so circumventing a working model is something that is a scary prospect for the company, but knowing that there is a market that will watch their shows only online is a start.
Seeing companies like Hulu and Netflix launching direct-to-customer original programming over the Internet, such as Hulu's successful series Battleground, is certainly another cause for concern at HBO. The challenge, however, is one that is making the company consider its options, not jump to a hasty decision, like we have seen from other companies in the past.
My personal hope is that we will see HBO GO offered as a stand-alone service that I can subscribe to without having to have HBO's TV service, but not if it causes HBO to stop its original programming over financial issues. How about you? Would you subscribe to HBO GO if it were a Hulu/Netflix/Amazon style service? Let me know in the comments.