Is HBO competing with itself when it comes to online streaming? Let me explain. HBO currently offers access to HBO original programming through Amazon. A deal they are considering ending when the contract expires in 2018. But does the contract even make sense with the HBO Now service? I guess it depends. Does HBO get more money through it’s licensing deal with Amazon, or through it’s HBO Now subscriptions?
HBO Now features original series from the last 30 years, and with Amazon offering some of the same content. What is interesting is that HBO was estimated to be getting $250-$300 million from Amazon in this deal. Which leads me to believe they think they could be making a whole lot more from their own subscriptions. But is that realistic? Would you pay to have a stand alone HBO Now subscription, in order to access HBO content?
Don’t get me wrong, the original programming from HBO is second to none. However, I wonder if HBO is being realistic with their long term plans to get more money out of subscribers. Let’s look at this critically. First of all, there is an over saturation in the market as far as TV options. Whether it’s traditional cable TV, or online streaming, there are many options to choose from. What makes HBO believe they can stand out among the crowd in this regard? Like I said, it’s not the programming itself, but can one survive on HBO alone?
Often times, to get HBO included in your cable subscription, you have to pay a premium. But more and more streaming service providers are including it in the mid-level packages. Or at least they appear to be. Which is an interesting concept. And makes you wonder if they will end those licensing deals as well? Further, Amazon is kind of getting the short end of the stick on this one. Their licensing deal indicates that Amazon can air the HBO shows, but not until three years AFTER the show ends. Meaning, you’re not seeing anything “new”, and they’re missing out on the conclusion of shows like Girls.
So in that case, then yes, HBO is winning. But I still wonder if they can make it worth our while? Are consumers interested in shelling out cash to be able to watch these shows now? But a better question might be – can they access it through a different online streaming service? Or worse yet, can they access it through their cable subscription? I say worse because I don’t feel that cable is valuable any more. But with so many options to choose from, and so much confusion, people are still sticking with cable.
I hope you are starting to see a shift in the way that people are watching television. And I’m also glad that the content producers and networks themselves are starting to smarten up and give the consumers more options. Being able to catch up on my favourite shows on my iPad while travelling is amazing. Yes, there are ways to watch online through your cable provider, but in my experience that’s extremely cumbersome. I do think that HBO will come out on top, regardless. But I also wonder how long it will take them to make up the difference?