Post-Cable HBO

3 Nov

While writing about the Sopranos, I was struck by the fact that a significant part of HBO’s appeal relative to other television stations is derived from its commercial-free program broadcasts. This strategy is just like the BBC in the United Kingdom, though obviously with revenue derived from subscription fees rather than TV licenses. However, the BBC also has an online component which is available free to all people in the UK, as part of their public service requirement. HBO has a similar service in HBO go, but falters due to the requirement for an HBO subscription, as well as the fact that one needs a cable subscription in order to even purchase such a subscription.

What troubles me is the seeming move towards On-Demand programming, such as that available from Netflix and Hulu. With limited to no commercial interruptions, these services allow for a much less interrupted viewing experience. Furthermore, with more channels mimicking the dramatic style of HBO’s programming, as well as the drop in pay-tv subscribers, one cannot help but wonder what the future of HBO is. For now, HBO benefits from standout programing such as Game of Thrones, but it does not remain exclusive in this regard. Effectively, I pose the question, how does HBO survice in the internet age?

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