HBO may finally have found a solution to the problem of selling subscriptions to cord cutters, and — probably more importantly — cord-nevers who pay for Netflix but not National Geographic. According to Reuters:
(HBO President) Plepler said late Wednesday that HBO GO could be packaged with a monthly Internet service, in partnership with broadband providers, reducing the cost.
Customers could pay $50 a month for their broadband Internet and an extra $10 or $15 for HBO to be packaged in with that service, for a total of $60 or $65 per month, Plepler explained.
“We would have to make the math work,” he added.
In other words, HBO is figuring out that getting subscription money from a certain demographic of customers this way is a better business move than losing them completely. As for making the math work, one assumes that HBO is trying to figure out just how much cord-cutters and cord-nevers would pay for HBO alone. Currently, the channel adds around $15 to the average cable bill, until you factor in the fact that most providers require you to be in a more expensive package just for the privilege of paying more for HBO. So it’s not an entirely simple equation trying to determine how much GO is worth on its own.
What happened recently to change HBO’s mind on this matter in the first place, though? House of Cards for one thing. Streaming is becoming just as respectable as — if not more so than — linear cable subscriptions, and Netflix is quickly becoming a major force in original programming, having whipped House of Cards out from under HBO’s nose, and snaffled Starz’s Disney package, which it had held pretty much since its inception.
Girls for another thing. HBO knows that the show has a huge appeal with a demographic that’s less likely to have a TV at all, much less cable.
So there’s hope, kids. While Game of Thrones Season 3 might not be streaming live and legally to your iPad unless you’re tethered to a cable subscription right now, I think there’s serious hope for Season 4. I just hope whatever ransom has to be paid to the cable companies won’t be too bad.