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HBO Rolls Out Its TV Everywhere Service

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Cable programmer HBO (s TWX) has launched its own TV Everywhere portal, enabling paying subscribers to its cable channels to watch on-demand movies and TV episodes online. The HBO Go service, which was first introduced nearly a year ago as a complement to its linear cable programming, is now ready for prime time.

HBO Go will first become available to Verizon (s VZ) FiOS subscribers that pay for HBO cable channels as part of their TV package. Customers must also be FiOS broadband subscribers to log in to the service, but once they have, HBO Go and FiOS will allow up to three simultaneous household users watching content at the same time.

The HBO Go service will have about 600 hours of programming online, 25 percent of which will be refreshed weekly, with new episodes of its TV shows added immediately after they air, according to Multichannel News. That said, initial reports on the quality of the programming available are fairly negative. TechCrunch’s Eric Schonfeld, for instance, bemoans the lack of interesting content that might draw him to the site: “[F]or the most part the selection is worse than what you get on Netflix (s nflx) via its streaming option. I’m not sure I want to see The Chumscrubber in HD.” While I have yet to check out the HBO Go implementation myself, based on what I’ve seen available from HBO on Comcast’s TV Everywhere portal, I’d have to agree that the content mix (other than having the entire run of The Wire available) is not that compelling.

The same content that’s being rolled out to FiOS customers is also available through Comcast’s (s CMCSA) Fancast Xfinity TV, the cable provider’s own premium content portal for subscribers. The Fancast offering was launched in December to allow Comcast subscribers to access on-demand video content from 30 different cable programmers.

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9 Responses to “HBO Rolls Out Its TV Everywhere Service”

  1. The fatal flaw in this of course is that a large number of non-cable subscribers would gladly pay for access to HBO programming online only or over xbox etc. I don’t have cable and all my tv comes via hulu, online, netflix (over xbox), but I would pay a subscription fee to several companies including comedy central, HBO, showtime to have online access. Cable companies are dinosaurs and are just stifling innovation by trying to prop up their cash cows.

    • Ryan Lawler

      That might be true, but I think everyone recognizes that moving to a la carte pricing would be the death of the cable industry, which is why it’s such a non-starter. You’d see very few people willing to pay for a very small number of channels, which would mean fewer stations and ultimately less choice. I can see why, even if it could get more money per subscriber with an online-only offering, HBO (or rather Time Warner) would not want to anger its distribution partners by enabling customers to give up their expensive cable packages.

      • Networks and Programming in general are aggressively moving their content online via their own portals and others like iTunes and Hulu. It’s only a matter of time before there isn’t enough money in advertising for cable companies to stay operational in the current business model anyway.
        Change is coming whether they can make it work or not.