dslreports logo
site
spacer

spacer
 
   
spc
story category
HBO Finally Offers Streaming Standalone Service
Unfortunately It's Only in the Nordic Region
by Karl Bode 08:53AM Friday Aug 31 2012
HBO is finally allowing users to view their broadband streaming content without having to subscribe to traditional cable. Unfortunately, it's only happening in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. Variety notes those regions will be the first anywhere to be able to get HBO standalone, something consumers have been begging for but something HBO strongly resists due to fear of piracy and loss of cable subsidies. In the States, HBO Go is only available to customers who not only have a cable subscription, but also only to those whose ISPs have struck an arrangement with HBO. Don't expect HBO to loosen their iron grip on the United States walled garden anytime soon. "Each market is unique and HBO approaches each one with what we consider to believe the best business model specific to that territory," says the company.

view:
topics flat nest 

LightS
Premium
join:2005-12-17
Greenville, TX

Speaking of a walled garden...

I wish that big corporations were in it with us, instead of looking from the outside in.

I like HBO Go. Don't have a subscription, but I know people that do & it's pretty good.
mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI

1 recommendation

Testing the waters

HBO is just testing the waters here. But this is a hopeful sign for people wanting a shake-up of the current delivery model.

I've said it before, the only services that can truely start a major shake-up in content delivery are HBO and ESPN. Once either one, or both, of these services have a subscription model not dependant upon the cabelco/telco/satcos, everything will change.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2

Re: Testing the waters

I think youre dreaming. Its gonna be a long , LONG, time before HBO offers this in the states. Im thinking, 134 years.

HBO should be offering this in the UK. Every daughter, husband and grandmother torrents Game of Thrones in that country.

spewak
R.I.P Dadkins
Premium
join:2001-08-07
Elk Grove, CA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·SureWest Internet

Re: Testing the waters

said by ITALIAN926:

I think youre dreaming. Its gonna be a long , LONG, time before HBO offers this in the states. Im thinking, 134 years.

Those are my sentiments exactly. They are being douche nozzles and dangling the stand alone subscription in our red, white and blue faces! Asses
--

Romney equals Epic Fail!
mogamer

join:2011-04-20
Royal Oak, MI
said by ITALIAN926:

I think youre dreaming. Its gonna be a long , LONG, time before HBO offers this in the states. Im thinking, 134 years.

I think that it will be in less than ten years. Still a long time from now, but it will happen in our lifetimes.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO
And here is the rub with that:

What's different this time around is that Scandinavia is a market where HBO doesn't have to protect an entrenched business model as lucrative as the one in the U.S., where a standalone product would jeopardize its deals with distributors from Comcast to DirecTV

Emphasis added by me.

HBO could easily offer all their material standalone. They simply choose not to because of the above.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Testing the waters

said by Skippy25:

And here is the rub with that:

What's different this time around is that Scandinavia is a market where HBO doesn't have to protect an entrenched business model as lucrative as the one in the U.S., where a standalone product would jeopardize its deals with distributors from Comcast to DirecTV

That's the point it wouldn't. I mean yes cable companies would get mad but they have ZERO reason too. They wouldn't lose a thing. So if cable companies wouldn't be stupid then HBO could offer this without worries.

Listen cable companies offer HBOGO for free if you pay for HBO. Typically $15 a month. If HBO sells HBOGo standalone at $15 a month. Why would a person stop getting regular HBO and just go with HBOGo? You're paying the same price but getting LESS.

If they want to argue that potential HBO subscribers would go with HBOGO instead the same point applies. Why would they? Either way they get HBOGO for the same price but getting it through cable gives you access to regular HBO. Once again why pay the same price and get less.

If they want to make the case that some cable customers may cut the cord if they can get it stand alone. A) I doubt that happens much B) They continually state that cord cutting doesn't exist. People who have cut the cord aren't going to go back to cable just because you're forcing them to get HBO via cable. Otherwise they wouldn't have cut the cord. They either do with or they illegally download HBO shows.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: Testing the waters

I personally believe if they went at it separately they would alienate cable companies because they (the cable companies) believe it will cause users to stop paying them for all their other fluff just to get HBO. This would cause cable companies to want to pay HBO even less to get their material, thus HBO would get less from them. That may or may not be true, but what they believe is what is important. I personally believe it to be true and I will never subscribe to an HBO or Showtime type service with my cable/sat/iptv subscription. They have no value to me in that format. Format being a monthly charge for all content, when 99.9% of it I dont care for and probably just want 1 show.

Example: True Blood. My fiance loves that show and I would pay to get it which I can through Amazon. However, the season isnt even available yet. So she finds another way to watch it. One I do not approve of, but none the less they go from earning some money to none.

All the other shows we watch are either on non-premium channels or OTA so we DVR them and watch at our convenience. I can't even tell you when the last time I watched a live, non-sporting event program on TV.

If all the shows we currently watch or may want to watch in the future were available for streaming and a reasonable fee (with no HD because we can fee) and at the same time or immediately following the original broadcast I would cancel uVerse in a heartbeat and purchase them as I see fit. The only need at that point is live sports so I will either go without completely (lost revenue for them), catch some at a friends or local establishment (lost revenue for them, gain for local establishment) and hope some day they will stream it as well.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Testing the waters

said by Skippy25:

I personally believe if they went at it separately they would alienate cable companies because they (the cable companies) believe it will cause users to stop paying them for all their other fluff just to get HBO. This would cause cable companies to want to pay HBO even less to get their material, thus HBO would get less from them. That may or may not be true, but what they believe is what is important. I personally believe it to be true and I will never subscribe to an HBO or Showtime type service with my cable/sat/iptv subscription. They have no value to me in that format. Format being a monthly charge for all content, when 99.9% of it I dont care for and probably just want 1 show.

But it's NOT true. If HBO sells HBOGo standalone at $15 a month which is the same as what cable companies charge for HBO then why would a personal with HBO drop it for HBOGO stand alone? They wouldn't. If your cable company is already giving you HBOGO for free included in your HBO subscription it's not logical to pay the same amount and get less.

If you don't want to pay for HBO to your cable company it doesn't make sense to pay the same amount to get LESS by getting HBOGo stand alone since cable companies offer it for FREE included in your HBO subscription.

Example: True Blood. My fiance loves that show and I would pay to get it which I can through Amazon. However, the season isnt even available yet. So she finds another way to watch it. One I do not approve of, but none the less they go from earning some money to none.

Anohter way HBO is being stupid and missing out on money. But the same excuse they give for not offering HBOGO standalone is the same reason why they don't offer current seasons on Amazon. Cable companies are afraid you'll cancel HBO. Of course you don't have, it won't ever have it, thus cable isn't losing anything, but they don't see it that way. They think if they keep the content away for long periods of time you'll just pony up the cash totally unaware apparently there are other ways to obtain the content. And HBO is too stupid to understand this too.

If all the shows we currently watch or may want to watch in the future were available for streaming and a reasonable fee (with no HD because we can fee) and at the same time or immediately following the original broadcast I would cancel uVerse in a heartbeat and purchase them as I see fit. The only need at that point is live sports so I will either go without completely (lost revenue for them), catch some at a friends or local establishment (lost revenue for them, gain for local establishment) and hope some day they will stream it as well.

Which is exactly why cable fights stuff like this tooth and nail.
zod5000

join:2003-10-21
Victoria, BC
Reviews:
·Shaw
said by mogamer:

HBO is just testing the waters here. But this is a hopeful sign for people wanting a shake-up of the current delivery model.

I've said it before, the only services that can truely start a major shake-up in content delivery are HBO and ESPN. Once either one, or both, of these services have a subscription model not dependant upon the cabelco/telco/satcos, everything will change.

Could you imagine if sports channels offered direct subscriptions in HD?

The amount of channels people have to subscribe to just to get sports is insane.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Interesting

I'm not sure what to think here... HBO is more or less "stuck" with its current business model:

1. It becomes a radically different business when you have to do billing and content delivery all by yourself.

2. If you offer an easy-to-use alternative, more people will drop cable... the cable companies upon who you depend for 100% of your current customers won't be thrilled with that.

3. It stinks even more when you have very popular content:

»gizmodo.com/5916885/more-people-···s-on-hbo

The problem of course is that as so many people pirate HBO content, they will be less inclined to be drawn into a legitimate alternative that will cost them more money they are paying now.
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.

AnonFTW

@rr.com

Re: Interesting

said by pnh102:

The problem of course is that as so many people pirate HBO content, they will be less inclined to be drawn into a legitimate alternative that will cost them more money they are paying now.

I cut the cord but pay for most of the services that offer compelling content. The rest I download from alternative sources. I'd pay $9.99 a month for HBO during the Game of Thrones season rather than pirate the episodes. Pirating can be a much more difficult and laborious process than opening an app and clicking "Buy" or "Rent."

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

Re: Interesting

See, for people overseas with no other options, I can almost sympathize with. You are choosing to engage in illegal behavior. You dont get to pick when , where, and how you can follow the law. Holy shit I hope you get a $100,000 bill in the mail.

"AnonFTW" using a roadrunner email, lol , I hope the RIAA/MPAA subpoena this website for IP addresses of users LMFAO.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Interesting

said by ITALIAN926:

See, for people overseas with no other options, I can almost sympathize with. You are choosing to engage in illegal behavior. You dont get to pick when , where, and how you can follow the law. Holy shit I hope you get a $100,000 bill in the mail.

"AnonFTW" using a roadrunner email, lol , I hope the RIAA/MPAA subpoena this website for IP addresses of users LMFAO.

Way to be Judge Dredd there... why do you presume that the previous poster is pirating content simply because he/she said "alternative sources?"
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2

Re: Interesting

quote:
I'd pay $9.99 a month for HBO during the Game of Thrones season rather than pirate the episodes.
Cmon man.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Interesting

said by ITALIAN926:

quote:
I'd pay $9.99 a month for HBO during the Game of Thrones season rather than pirate the episodes.
Cmon man.

I'd rather pay $9.99 a month for HBO than pirate the episodes too.

I do not pirate the episodes though.

This kind of thinking makes me wish our civil court system was set up so that the plaintiff would have to prove that the defendant is liable for what is claimed in the lawsuit, instead of the current system that enables someone like you to make spurious claims, and then the defendant must prove that he is not at fault.
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.
talz13

join:2006-03-15
Avon, OH
It can be difficult, but some programs make it as easy as:
1. Type in the name of a show
2. Select the one you meant from the list
3. Hit "Add Show"
4. Get new episodes downloaded automatically from that point onwards
kaila

join:2000-10-11
Lincolnshire, IL
Point #1 has never stopped anybody from trying. #2 is the real problem, and if cord-cutting reaches critical mass, cableco's and content providers alike will have to seriously consider the options they now consider taboo.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Interesting

said by kaila:

#2 is the real problem, and if cord-cutting reaches critical mass ...

Therein lays the rub. Cord-cutting is still a very, very, very small segment of the population. If the current rate of complete subscriber dropoff continues, it will be decades before cord-cutters are a large enough market for us to be taken more seriously by content providers.

The other problem is this. Most of us who cut the cord did so for financial reasons. We *don't* want to pay a lot of money for content. That's not exactly a major incentive for content providers to come jumping.
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.
praetoralpha

join:2005-08-06
Pittsburgh, PA

Re: Interesting

said by pnh102:

Cord-cutting is still a very, very, very small segment of the population. If the current rate of complete subscriber dropoff continues, it will be decades before cord-cutters are a large enough market for us to be taken more seriously by content providers.

All it takes is some marketing douche to say that cord cutters are the hot new customers, it will be big enough immediately, regardless of how few of them there are. No decade needed.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Interesting

said by praetoralpha:

All it takes is some marketing douche to say that cord cutters are the hot new customers, it will be big enough immediately, regardless of how few of them there are. No decade needed.

True enough... but I think at HBO at least those guys got overruled by the accounting team haha.
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.

mackey
Premium
join:2007-08-20
kudos:12

1 recommendation

said by pnh102:

The problem of course is that as so many people pirate HBO content, they will be less inclined to be drawn into a legitimate alternative that will cost them more money they are paying now.

And who forced people to learn how to pirate by not providing any other choice? Perhaps if they offered this from the get-go people would never have gotten used to getting it for free.

/M

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Interesting

said by mackey:

And who forced people to learn how to pirate by not providing any other choice? Perhaps if they offered this from the get-go people would never have gotten used to getting it for free.

I generally agree but I would not say that anyone was "forced" to pirate anything. To pirate or not is a conscious, willful and voluntary decision.

But going beyond that, piracy, whether content providers want to accept it or not, is a de facto distribution method for their work. For most content providers who aren't tied to a distributor (the way HBO needs pay tv providers to get their product to the customers), they are free to price their products in such a way as to make piracy a less attractive alternative.

I just don't see how HBO can do this without burning the bridges with the cable companies.
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
said by pnh102:

I'm not sure what to think here... HBO is more or less "stuck" with its current business model:

1. It becomes a radically different business when you have to do billing and content delivery all by yourself.

How are the doing it Scandinavia then?

2. If you offer an easy-to-use alternative, more people will drop cable... the cable companies upon who you depend for 100% of your current customers won't be thrilled with that.

That is untrue. HBO costs me $15 via cable I get 6 HBO channels and HBOGo. HBOGo standalone for $15 is LESS of a value. Why would I get that instead of regular HBO? Now someone who is already a cord cutter is ADDITIONAL revenue for HBO and is not lost revenue for cable because if they wanted cable they would have it.

I used to preach anti-piracy to people all the time. I try to show them what they were doing wasn't right. But the more companies pull this bullshit the more I'm inclined to say fuck it and not bother.

HUGE difference between someone downloading HBO shows because they are too cheap to pay for HBO and someone WANTING to hand their money over to HBO. And HBO says "Nah we don't want it" then fuck 'em.

pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Re: Interesting

said by 88615298:

said by pnh102:

1. It becomes a radically different business when you have to do billing and content delivery all by yourself.

How are the doing it Scandinavia then?

It could be they are testing the waters in an area where they purportedly do not offer their cable channels for viewing through cable TV.

According to Wiki, HBO doesn't have its cable channels offered in Denmark, Norway, Sweden or Finland. This is probably why they chose to do this there.
said by 88615298:

That is untrue. HBO costs me $15 via cable I get 6 HBO channels and HBOGo. HBOGo standalone for $15 is LESS of a value.

No. HBO costs you $15 + whatever you pay for cable TV and a box rental. That would probably make it well over $50 and possibly clost to $100 or so a month. You can't get HBO programming any other way, and for someone who doesn't want cable TV, but who wants to watch HBO programming, it is a pretty steep hill to climb just for that one set of channels.
said by 88615298:

HUGE difference between someone downloading HBO shows because they are too cheap to pay for HBO and someone WANTING to hand their money over to HBO. And HBO says "Nah we don't want it" then fuck 'em.

Well, until the number of total pay-tv subscribers in the US goes from ~100 million to say, ~70 million or so, my bet is that HBO will maintain the status quo here. Right now, the number of cord cutters is in the low hundreds of thousands at best.
--
Romney/Ryan 2012 - Put a couple of mature adults in charge.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Interesting

said by pnh102:

No. HBO costs you $15 + whatever you pay for cable TV and a box rental. That would probably make it well over $50 and possibly clost to $100 or so a month. You can't get HBO programming any other way, and for someone who doesn't want cable TV, but who wants to watch HBO programming, it is a pretty steep hill to climb just for that one set of channels.

That assumes one decides to finally cut the cord because they can get HBOGo separately. That's simply untrue. If you cut cable you may still get HBO if HBOGo is offered separately but you're not getting all those other channels your cable provider provides. How many people are willing to give those up? My guess is not many. And for every person that cuts the cord because they can get HBOGo standalone you have another person keeping their HBO cable subscription because of HBOGo. So it evens out. The only reason I got HBO was because they offered it for $5 a month for a year. Well when it goes back up to regular price I'm considering keeping it because of HBOGo. Without HBOGo I doubt I keep HBO.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

We'll never see this in the U.S.

The cable companies wield way to much power to allow HBO to offer themselves as a stand along service.

Comcast won't even allow HBO to offer their HBO2Go service on Roku (Comcast blocks it), for reasons I can't begin to fathom. Comcast does allow HBO2Go on XBox360, but Microsoft probably threw a pile of of money at Comcast to allow it.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

Re: We'll never see this in the U.S.

I'm not sure how they would block that and would certainly question it.

Your second point may very well be correct - Microsoft throwing piles of cash at them. However, I would question this as well. Whom is Comcast to decide what appliances can be put on their network to gain access to internet material? I'm sure they think they can and should be paid for it but I would strongly disagree.

If you are Comcast user and subscribe to HBO, then you should be able to use any device that HBO2Go supports to access the material. Comcast should certainly have no say in the matter and them meddling in something like this should be a cause of concern for their users and the regulating bodies.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: We'll never see this in the U.S.

said by Skippy25:

If you are Comcast user and subscribe to HBO, then you should be able to use any device that HBO2Go supports to access the material. Comcast should certainly have no say in the matter and them meddling in something like this should be a cause of concern for their users and the regulating bodies.

You'd think that would be the case, but apparently HBO and cable companies have a licensing deal as to what devices HBO2Go is allowed to work on. Comcast decided to restrict it to portable devices (phones, tablets and laptops) and XBox360 (again likely in exchange for a pile of money from Microsoft).

Why is any of this legal? Likely because Comcast isn't doing the actual blocking, it's HBO which is doing the restricting (albeit at Comcast's request).

What's stupid is there's really no reason to do this, unless Comcast believes it will hurt cable box/card rentals.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.
sandman_1

join:2011-04-23
11111

Sign up requirements?

Just wondering if you could get a VPN or Proxy server in those countries to have access.
mdurkin

join:1999-08-11
San Bruno, CA

I don't think HBOGo requires any relationship with ISPs

HBOGo certainly requires a subscription to their traditional channel, but I don't think there are any deals required with your ISP. I used HBOGo without trouble until I dropped Dish and thus my HBO subscription recently, and my ISP most definitely has no deal with HBO. The HBOGo website only makes mention of participating TV providers, no references I see to any requirement for your ISP.

nickz
In A Past Life I Was Astroguy
Premium
join:2001-12-04
Hammond, IN

Re: I don't think HBOGo requires any relationship with ISPs

Yeah, that line sounded funny to me. I stream HBOGo on my Rokus over Comcast HSI. My HBO sub is from Dish.