Why HBO refuses to change

Posted by Shane McGlaun

HBO seems adamantly opposed to offering a streaming-only service to US-based customers.

Why? Well, the pay-TV channel undoubtedly fears such a move would prompt a significant number of subscribers to cancel existing HBO subscriptions with their cable and satellite providers.

According to DSL Reports, HBO is continuing its campaign to justify the lack of a standalone service.

Currently, HBO offers streaming via its Go package - but only if you subscribe to the channel via a cable or satellite company. And although HBO subscriptions are available for around $15 a month, many potential subscribers still aren't ready to make the commitment.

Consequently, the wildly popular Game of Thrones is currently ranked as the most pirated television show ever. Many believe that one way HBO could eliminate some of the rampant piracy is to offer a standalone streaming service - which the network claims isn't profitable enough. 

Frankly, this excuse doesn't make much sense at all, especially considering that HBO already offers a streaming service of sorts. Expanding it and offering consumers additional options seems like a smart move to me. Then again, HBO clearly fears existing subscribers would dump their cable or satellite subscriptions for a streaming only model. Heck, I know I would.

Nevertheless, a number of journalists and analysts disagree with HBO's assessment, including MG Siegler.

"[Yes], the math is not in favor of selling HBO access directly to consumers. But if we're just thinking about this from a pure product perspective, I don’t think anyone would disagree that this is what we all want," Sigeler explained in a recent statement quoted by TechDirt.

"HBO is choosing not to build the service we will love, they're choosing the short-term money. The safe bet. The math. ' But if they don’t diverge from this path, it will lead to their demise. Innovation always beats math, eventually. That, you can take to the bank."