HBO has been one of the biggest proponents of TV Everywhere, eschewing online distributors like Netflix and instead committing to authenticated digital offerings from cable and IPTV providers. But Netflix’s loss will be Comcast, Verizon and AT&T’s gain, as HBO is more than doubling the amount of content that is available through its HBO Go broadband video service.
The number of titles available on HBO Go has increased to 1,400, which is up from 600 when the service launched a little more than a year ago. HBO says that “virtually all” of its programming is now available through the broadband service, including the entire series run of hit shows like The Wire, The Sopranos and Sex and the City. The vast increase in shows and movies available through the service negates our biggest complaint about HBO Go, which was that the content selection was uneven and haphazard.
But HBO’s scripted programming is only part of the story; content includes HBO Films, HBO Miniseries, HBO Documentary Films, HBO Sports and blockbuster movies from studios like Warner Bros. in standard and high definition. And not only are all its videos available on the HBO Go website, but they can also be viewed on TV Everywhere sites from distributors like Verizon’s FiOS TV Online or even through mobile applications like Comcast’s Xfinity TV iPad app.
In addition to increasing the number of titles available, HBO also announced that it has signed up a new distribution partner, with Cox Communications currently offering a beta version of HBO Go. With more than 6 million cable subscribers, Cox is the fifth-largest pay TV operator in the U.S. Now subscribers in its network that pay for HBO will have access to all the same HBO content that Comcast and others offer.
While other cable networks — like Starz and Epix — have been selling out their content to Netflix, HBO has steadfastly resisted such a strategy, claiming that deals its competitors strike undervalue the content they provide. HBO has also resisted the urge to take its broadband offering direct to consumers, something that might especially be attractive now that it includes nearly its entire library of scripted programming online. For now, at least, HBO believes that it can derive the most value from adding content and features for its pay TV distributors.
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