HBO could widen access to its HBO GO online streaming service by teaming up with broadband Internet providers for customers who do not subscribe to a cable TV service, according to HBO's Chief Executive Richard Plepler.
HBO has a lot of great content, and I'd seriously consider ponying up 10 to 15 bucks a month for a subscription. But what I won't do is pay $50 a month* for a hundred channels of basic cable I don't want, all for the privilege of spending another $10 to $15 for HBO. And while millions of other Americans are happily streaming HBO programming through various devices, HBO currently doesn't offer that option to those of us in the non-cable ghetto.
I understand there's a business model thing. The cable companies currently pay billions to Time Warner for the privilege of just carrying HBO, separate from the monthly per-customer subscription charges. (Which means that all you chumps subscribing to basic cable but not HBO are subsidizing the viewing habits of HBO subscribers.) But when technology enables something that business models block, it's the business model that is usually forced to bend.
There's no good reason why the networks can't sell their content à la carte. And if they don't eventually reach out to potential customers like me, somebody else will lock up our business.
* I don't really know what basic cable costs, and Comcast won't tell me. As a new subscriber Comcast says it will sell me their 80-channel "starter" packager for $29.99/month for the first 12 months of a two-year contract, and $49.99/month for months 13-24. After that "regular charges" of $55 to $70 a month apply. HBO is free for the first three months, then $10 for months 4-12, then $13.95 to $23.95 a month thereafter, "depending on area." Oh, and then there are unspecified "equipment, installation, taxes and franchise fees." That's a bullshit way of doing business.