The last few months has seen a significant ramp up in whining
among content companies, as they realize that Netflix could soon be to Internet video as Apple is to digital music. While that's actually been a great thing for content companies (and especially older catalogs of content), amidst this whining is the refrain that most content companies believe Netflix isn't charging enough money for broadband video streaming. That's been refrain of Time Warner and HBO, who've refused to allow Netflix access to HBO content. According to a report in the Hollywood Reporter
, HBO would like to see the cost of Netflix streaming go from $8 to $20:
“HBO believes in content exclusivity, especially for high-value content,” says Jeff Cusson, the channel’s senior vp corporate affairs. "That’s our rationale for not selling streaming rights to a competing subscription service." While HBO licenses shows to such pay-as-you-go streaming services as iTunes and Amazon, it has “no intention of making its content available for streaming on Netflix,” he adds. A high-placed Time Warner executive says that if Netflix expects to get a meaningful amount of HBO content, it would have to raise the price of its streaming-only service from $7.99 a month to $20 before the economics made sense.
HBO apparently believes they'll erode the perception of their "premium" service if someone is actually offering it at a decent value. Keep in mind HBO has a history of fighting the currents. Over the years they've been accused of poisoning
copies of their TV shows available for download via BitTorrent, petitioned the FCC
to make DVR recording of subscription video-on demand illegal, and even hinted at
possibly suing Slingbox for allowing the re-transmission of their content. Now HBO is working on a walled garden Internet video service called HBO Go
that's only available via three ISPs.