Let's be honest -- a not insignificant portion of the TV-watching community is tired of being saddled with a cable subscription. What people want is a-la-carte viewing. And while services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others are slowly making that possible, there's one thing that's been missing -- HBO.
The reality is, if you want the Home Box Office, you either need a cable subscription or you need access to someone else who does. And there's nothing more popular on HBO (and more desirable for people without the channel) than Game of Thrones. So, naturally, people have been clamoring for a stand-alone streaming service from HBO that does not require cable. More on that in a moment.
It's noteworthy that there is one more way to watch HBO -- piracy. And pirate people have. Game of Thrones has repeatedly been the most torrented TV show over the last few years. And HBO has been surprisingly cool with it. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes even went so far as to say that "it all leads to more penetration, more paying subs and more health for HBO."
So how does torrenting transform into subs? It happens when HBO finally offers up that stand-alone service. Finally. And just in time for the next season of Game of Thrones, by the look of it.
Yes, the story is that HBO will be teaming up with MLB Advanced to make a new streaming-only service available by April of next year.
What will become of the current HBO Go service? That, thus far, remains unclear. It may go the way of the dodo, especially considering the frequent problems from which the service has suffered, especially during the finales for Game of Thrones and True Detective.
According to an unnamed source, HBO wants to make it clear that it "is a media company, not a technology company.” And more to the point, "the company does not want to be seen as chasing after Netflix." Combined with their own HBO Go problems, that explains why HBO has brought in MLB Advanced to get this done for them. Seems like HBO isn't interested in competing with other services, they just want to finally make good on what their audience has been asking them about for years.
The big question is, will this new service really transform illegal torrenting into a paid subscription? And will people who weren't in HBO before jump on now?
(via The Mary Sue)