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Would You Pay to Get Netflix Out of the “HBO Hole?”

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Netflix (s NFLX) sent out a survey to its subscribers over the weekend, asking if they’d be willing to pony up an additional $9.99 for access to streaming content from HBO, writes Hacking Netflix. The survey lists a number of HBO shows like The Sopranos and Entourage, along with a number of movies like The Golden Compass and The Bourne Ultimatum.

While the streaming content available through Netflix is certainly getting better, there are a lot of great movies it can’t get because they fall into the so-called “HBO hole.” In a nutshell, certain titles aren’t available through a subscription service like Netflix because HBO has locked up all of the rights.

With its Starz partnership, Netflix already has one streaming relationship with a pay TV service, and at NewTeeVee Live, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told us he wanted to bring others — such as HBO and Showtime — on board. But getting HBO to play ball can’t be easy. The home of Tony Soprano was the first TV network to bring variable pricing to iTunes, charging $2.99 for recent episodes of programming instead of the standard $1.99.

Admittedly, this was just a survey that Netflix sent out, so we don’t know all the machinations going on behind the scenes, but the answer could be just throwing money at the problem. Would you pay ten bucks a month on top of your current Netflix subscription to stream The Wire and other HBO shows? For me, it would depend on the execution. HBO’s oldteevee VOD program can be pretty frustrating in its stinginess (lack of shows, slow rotation through content) — what restrictions would be in place on Netflix? And sure, you could get True Blood, but would you then pay an additional ten bucks for Weeds and other Showtime content?

More importantly, would these premium offerings get you to cancel your cable altogether?

6 Responses to “Would You Pay to Get Netflix Out of the “HBO Hole?””

  1. Vincent

    I’m a little torn…

    On the one hand, I am limited in my monthly bandwidth by my ISP to 10 GBs (only game in town), so I wouldn’t want to pay any more $ to Netflix on top of the $5 per GB my ISP charges for overage.

    On the other hand, since the above situation effectively limits me to “Netflix by mail”, I don’t want to have to subsidize their streaming movie service; therefore I want Netflix to charge extra for streaming.

    Obviously there is a issue here between the content providers and the service providers. This issue will not get solved by “market forces”, it needs government regulation.

    Until that happens, I feel that Netflix should charge extra for streaming so those that can’t take advantage of it don’t feel disenfranchised.

  2. I’ve never had premium cable, so my experience with HBO and Showtime shows has always come way after the fact. If Netflix could offer their shows in a way that was significantly more current and bountiful than other sources, I’d probably be willing to pay.