Getting video content where you want it, when you want it, is becoming the battle cry of consumers. No one wants to be tied down to the antiquated concept of having to be home at a certain time to watch TV, and DVRs are no longer the answer either because no one wants to be tied to their family room to watch a show. Streaming, on-demand, video is the wave of the future, but the only question is who will be bringing us that content in the formats we crave.
Netflix has been on a tear lately adding as much content as it can to its Watch Instantly streaming video service. First it struck a deal with Relativity Media directly so it could get movies at the same time as cable channels, and then it made a five year agreement with Epix to get access to films from studios such as Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) 90 days after the cable channel starts airing them. Next it wanted to get the rights to Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox and Universal Pictures, but then it hit a roadblock named HBO.
HBO Co-President Eric Kessler told Bloomberg, “There is value in exclusivity. [Consumers] are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content.” So, does this mean you are stuck watching HBO the old fashioned way? Actually, no. According to the same article, HBO is preparing to launch HBO Go to deliver content to its subscribers at no extra cost via their cable companies, to the iPad, other mobile devices and via other means, though what those might be was not made clear.
Providing the on-demand service at no extra cost is nice, but until we hear about what these other items may be, there is a severe hindrance to the system and that is getting content onto a TV that has no cable box. If you’re a subscriber, and you don’t have a cable box on the TV in say your basement, will there be a way to deliver it there? Say on an Internet-connected Blu-ray player or a Roku box? The iPad will be nice as you can carry it around with you, but what about getting the content on to an actual TV?
While I can understand HBO wanting to protect original content like True Blood or The Sopranos, not making a deal for the film studios doesn’t make much sense to me. Reportedly Netflix paid Epix around $900 million over five years for the film access, and they get those three months after Epix. So, HBO wants value for their exclusivity, but are they trying to say it’s worth turning down a similar deal? Will it really bring in that many subscribers to equal that amount of money? Somehow I doubt it.
What say you? Are you interested in HBO Go?