What Should HBO GO Cost Without A Cable Subscription? One Man Hopes HBO Makes It Happen; HBO Responds

What Should HBO GO Cost Without A Cable Subscription?  One Man Hopes HBO Makes It Happen; HBO Responds

Anyone who has experienced HBO GO knows that it's probably one of the most awesome applications on the planet.  Pretty much every HBO series ever made, every episode, and a ton of movies are all available on your laptop or smartphone...as long as you have a cable subscription.  It's the "cable subscription" thing that makes HBO GO drop from "100% Awesome" to much lower than that for those who don't want to pay for cable.  So web designer Jack Caputo set up a website asking those who might tweet it, "How much would you pay for HBO GO if you were able to do so?"

The Result?  Looks Like $12 A Month

Caputo set up the site to get the attention of HBO, but he didn't have a way of tracking the ballpark figure that was being tweeted.  Here's what the site looks like:

What Should HBO GO Cost Without A Cable Subscription?  One Man Hopes HBO Makes It Happen; HBO Responds

So, as Techcrunch reported, the answer appears to be $12. A coder by the name of Dominic Balasuriya took it upon himself to figure out the amounts being tweeted:

I was curious about what the average amount of money would be, so I wrote two small Python scripts that use the Twitter search API to retrieve the 1500 most recent tweets (the limits of the API) and analyse the average amount in those tweets.

There are limitations to this approach, since there are certainly more than 1500 tweets with this hashtag. I made the following decisions about how I handled the data:

  • RTs were ignored, because I'm interested in each person's personal opinion.
  • I looked for the phrase 'pay $' in the tweet, and extracted the number following the '$'. If there was no number following, the tweet was ignored (e.g. some people tweeted statements like 'I would pay $$$'.
  • Money amounts >$50 were ignore, since some people tweeted statements like 'I would pay $1000000'.

Currently the script only returns the average amount and the number of data points available of the 1500 downloaded (after RTs, etc are removed).

Results

Wednesday 5:10AM GMT/UTC +0:00 - $12.06, from 1063 data points.

Wednesday 5:24AM GMT/UTC +0:00 - $12.30, from 1071 data points.

$12. It is said that HBO gets $7-8 per subscriber, of which there are 29 million of them.  As Ryan Lawler at Techcrunch says:

So HBO could, theoretically, get more per subscriber than it’s currently making. But that doesn’t include the cost of infrastructure needed to support delivery of all those streams, including all the CDN delivery and other costs that would come with rolling out a broader online-only service.

More importantly, it wouldn’t include the cost of sales, marketing, and support — and this is where HBO would really get screwed. Going direct to online customers by pitching HBO GO over-the-top would mean losing the support of its cable, satellite, and IPTV distributors. And since the Comcasts and the Time Warner Cables of the world are the top marketing channel for premium networks like HBO, it would be nearly impossible for HBO to make up for the loss of the cable provider’s marketing team or promotions.

HBO did respond, in a way, on Twitter:

Love the love for HBO. Keep it up. For now, @RyanLawler @TechCrunch has it right: http://itsh.bo/JLtSFE #takemymoneyHBO

As we've mentioned before, it doesn't look like HBO wants to break, or risk fracturing, its relationship with cable anytime soon.  Cable has been very good to HBO, and it looks like even if they were able to charge for their service successfully, they would lose out on all the marketing tools and reach of cable.

So it doesn't look like it matters whether or not you would gladly pay for it, HBO probably makes way more in the long run by keeping HBO GO a cable subscription-only service.


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About the Author -
Chris Atkinson joined ReelSEO in 2011. He is a longtime film and television reviewer, and has almost two decades of experience in the theater industry. He also writes on his personal blog - http://nymoviereviews.com. View All Posts By -

What do you think? ▼
  • RonGensemer

    HBO GO is a joke. Even though HBO plugs it and advertises at every opportunity - the fact is that unless your local cable company signs on, you will NOT be able to access HBO GO. My cable company, Comporium, does not allow it's viewers to access HBO GO and may never offer it.

  • RonGensemer

    HBO GO is a joke. Even though HBO plugs it and advertises at every opportunity - the fact is that unless your local cable company signs on, you will NOT be able to access HBO GO. My cable company, Comporium, does not allow it's viewers to access HBO GO and may never offer it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/winton.gibbons Winton Gibbons

    Content providers have the leverage these days, given the many channels of distribution. Comcast has more to lose by getting rid of HBO rather than vice versa. As it is, many people are already giving up cable, given the streaming apps from many networks, Netflix, and Apple TV to stream iTunes and other Internet content. It's the cable providers, not HBO, who should scared. As long as HBO produces good content (and they already even have a lot in their library), they will have the real leverage.

  • Guest

    I'd be willing to pay over twice as much. But I'm never going to be willing to pay nearly a hundred dollars a month for cable and HBO, since I already pay 80 dollars a month for fast internet access and Netflix, and I watch less than a dozen television programs, all but one already available to me. That last one, HBO's Game of Thrones (of course) I have pay three over dollars for per episode via iTunes (and I bloody hate iTunes). Even still, it's a bargain compared to paying for 100 channels I would never, ever view. So the bottom line is that HBO could get ten times as much money from me as they're getting now, and I'd gladly pay it to be able to stream all their content as soon as it's available, but apparently they don't want it yet.