HBO is reported to be considering stepping outside of existing cable packages and offering itself as a stand-alone service in order to raise its current subscriber base – and if that doesn’t work, it just might abandon television altogether. The surprise news came from Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, who told an audience at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference that the channel would consider being sold solo through cable/satellite providers and “new distributors” if he felt that the channel was being “overly hindered” by highly-priced bundles of channels.
According to the New York Post, the channel may also consider cutting the cord with television altogether, dependent on the success of various HBO online plans, such as HBO Go, which allows those already subscribing to the channel to watch content online, and a planned iPad app to be launched next year. No timeframes were given for either initiative, however.
These are not the words of a “hollywood” company that “just doesn’t get it.” They understand very much where things are going. HBO was the first cable network. It was the first network to offer on demand. it was the first network to air movies on cable. Hell, it was the first network to lay cables in the ground and transmit signals to buildings via cables on a mass scale. It is a relentlessly innovative company. The day it makes any financial sense whatsoever for them to offer HBO to people direct, bypassing the cable companies, it says it would do so. They’re not dumb, they’re not evil. They’re simply aware of their own financial reality.