HBO's business model has been fairly consistent for its entire existence: if you have cable, you can add HBO to your subscription for a monthly fee. In the last few decades of cable-based appointment television, this model has been incredibly successful. The two major changes to their business have been original programming, such as The Newsroom and Game of Thrones, and HBO GO.
HBO GO allows existing HBO subscribers to stream content on a variety of devices. The biggest issue with the service is the existing subscription requirement. Many young people are cutting their cable subscriptions entirely, meaning the target audience for HBO GO is completely ineligible to use it. That makes it difficult to justify the cost of the service, which can't be inexpensive.
Earlier this year, HBO Chief Executive Richard Plepler said,
Right now we have the right model. Maybe HBO GO, with our broadband partners, could evolve.
Analysts predicted that the evolution would come sooner than later, which makes sense in a time when the face of television is changing. Appointment television is coming to a swift end; I am watching old episodes of a television show as I write this. But can HBO compete in an arena that RedBox is vacating?
They are certainly going to give it a go. Plepler announced that, launching some time in 2015, HBO plans on offering content to non-cable subscribers. What they did not say was what content would be available on this unnamed platform. He said they would work with "current partners," which indicates that, currently, none of their contracts allow for off-network availability. This could prevent current programming from being available, as indicated previously.
What price would you be willing to pay to get HBO content without a cable subscription? Sound off in the comments.