Dear HBO, Showtime, et. al., Your Business Model is Absurd

HBO Signature logo in the US
Image via Wikipedia

It just sort of dawned on me how completely ridiculous the whole notion of a network like HBO is in today’s digital world.

Back when HBO was born, their big offering was the chance to see lots and lots of movies for a pretty low price.  Sure, you had to wait maybe a year for it to make it there from the big screen, and you had to watch it when they decided to air it and you had to want to see the movies they had licensed.

For a time, this wasn’t a bad deal.  It was a good enough deal that millions decided to pay an extra $20 or whatever for that programming. But that was before DVRs and Hulu and Boxee and NetFlix WatchNow and all the other ways I can watch all the same basic movies HBO (et. al.) offers but I can decide when I want to watch them and it’s FREE!.

Now, HBO (et. al.) are trying to convince people that, while you can see the same movies they charge you to watch for free through other methods BUT check it out, now they have original programming. Actually, they’ve had that for decades, but now it is the centerpiece, it’s what they’re asking you to pay for – and they’re asking for the same amount of money as before.

So, to review, HBO wants me to pay them a premium above and beyond my basic cable fees to watch original dramas and comedies. Isn’t that what all the basic cable channels already do? Sure, they have ads, but that’s what DVR is for.

That leaves only two things HBO (et. al.) still offer that you can’t get on basic cable – boobs and cursing.  Is that really worth $20 a month? Really?

Oh, and that HBO show you love enough to pay for, “Flight of the Conchords?”  Yeah, HBO is premiering the new season on FunnyOrDie.com. That’s a free website they bought.

Why the hell are people paying for HBO (et. al.)? Seriously? No kidding.  Leave me a comment.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Dear HBO, Showtime, et. al., Your Business Model is Absurd

  1. tim

    I think your argument rather makes a unintended point. Why should advertisers pay for TV when people skip the commercials? HBO is a totally separate business model — the customer pays for the product, not the advertiser. In the past, it was worth it for no commercials.

    But the end result is, eventually, everything is going to be “on demand” for a fee, like iTunes. You won’t see any cable bill except for a low monthly fee plus you will have to pay for everything you watch. It’s either that or more product integration, take your pick.

  2. Pingback: You can Almost get rid of Cable | tek-works.com

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