Blog Post

I Want My HBO (a la carte)

The Sopranos finale on Sunday was a huge ratings hit, and my fellow fans were in a tizzy over the mysterious ending — including those who don’t have HBO, cable or even a television. Like a lot of people, they downloaded it. Because seriously, with something this culturally significant, who’s going to wait for the DVDs to be released?

I understand that HBO has all sorts of long-term contracts keeping it from offering its content as paid downloads, and that its business model is based on subscriptions. In the meantime, why not offer something to people who love the content but don’t want to have to pay for all the crap on basic cable as well?

In other words, I’m proposing I’ll send HBO a check every month in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

For starters, HBO wouldn’t have to actually manage the technology for distributing the show online. Fans around the world are taking care of that already, thank you very much.

HBO makes great shows, and while I don’t particularly want to pay for all the schlocky Hollywood movies that they license, I would pay the monthly subscription just to be able to watch their original programming in a timely way without ethical qualms or fear of retribution.

Think of it as paying for protection under the table, no questions asked. Now that’s something Tony Soprano would understand.

Soprano’s finale parody by Max Silvestri, via.

7 Responses to “I Want My HBO (a la carte)”

  1. Jon Smirl

    This has been proposed before, extend the concept to music. Pay the RIAA $10/mth and all of the problems with downloading are solved. The RIAA can then focus on suing the people that won’t pay the $10/mth. Once you pay your “tax” you can get music from any source without royalties. If the RIAA could multiply it would see that this “tax” is capable of replacing all of the declining CD revenue. Of course this has the side effect of turning the RIAA into a monopoly and keeping the independents from making any money.

  2. I just went to an HBO premiere last Tuesday for a show called Flight of The Conchords. I wrote a review for it on my page but I’ll save you the trouble.

    It’s, basically, Tenacious D but they’re from New Zealand.
    They’re recycling formulas at this point

  3. It’s true, now that The Sopranos is over, there may not be many HBO shows I’d be tempted to download going forward.

    And of course, same goes for Showtime — I would definitely pay for the privelege of watching Weeds, but not much else.

  4. I think I can wait till the DVDs for the next season of Entourage, which means that the only thing stopping me from putting my post-Sopranos cable-bill on the SlimFast plan is laziness. I am paying for way too much stuff I’m not watching….

  5. Amen. Under the table protection deals. I love it.

    I can’t wait to see all content available like this. If we could just drop the dead weight, and let the goodness rise to the top… skimming it would be easy!