HBO – When subscription isn’t an option

Why can’t I just pay for HBO alone?  Why does it need to be packaged together with other channels?

Techncrunch has an article explaining the economics behind this:

Someone even went out and made

However, this wouldn’t really work and was explained very well on reddit:

You actually don’t want this. Please allow me to explain.

HBO is shielded from the market by long-term contracts with major cable providers. It’s remarkably stable, and can therefore take large and expensive risks with its programming. This results in fantastic shows, movies, and miniseries. Even if something bombs terribly, they have a stable source of revenue they can rely on for at least a couple years. Sure, they have to make things people can like, but on the whole they can ride out their misses.

If you take away the cable companies HBO will have to start catering to the market. The month-by-month audience will be master. Then their revenue stream isn’t protected nearly as well (this is unless everybody’s willing to sign on to like 3 year contracts with HBO, but I’m guessing that’s not likely.) They will have to play everything more safely so they don’t lose their audience. Any big miss could seriously hurt them in lost subscribers. Before you know it they’re toning down language and violence to reach a “broader” audience, and investigating really extensive and probably annoying advertising schemes to boost revenue. At which point you’ve effectively destroyed HBO as we know and love it.

Sad truth is, you have to leave HBO protected by the mega cable companies if you want them to continue making the sophisticated, adult TV that we all love.




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