Beyond not being on broadband, that is … The Time Warner premium cable network imay finally be on the verge of establishing a broadband beachhead, according to BusinessWeek. Putting networks on broadband without irking cable operators and satellite providers is tricky at best; for subscription-based HBO, with an estimated $3.5 billion in annual revenue, it’s even more difficult. It’s unlikely that HBO would make any moves that could be perceived as undermining those relationships. Instead, the network could opt for something similar to the subscription VOD that’s offered through the distributors or an online subscription product offered in conjunction An HBO spokesman told BW: “We’re examining various distribution [possibilities], including broadband platforms, but have yet to determine which is the best model for our business. … We’re having conversations with cable affiliates as well as all of our distribution partners, and together we will explore all of our opportunities in that space.”
— Starz, with its Vongo download service, is offered up as a possible case for HBO to study; the suggestion is that Starz suffered by going out on its own and that its talking to cable operators now. But HBO’s production of original signature content makes it a different story.
— HBO has already ventured into the mobile video marketplace, delivering full-length shows through Cingular for $4.99 a month, more of an experiment and a publicity pop than anything.