Tag Archives: premium channels

HBO give us free! Cable, your days are numbered.

hbogo

I’ve been trying to contain my excitement over something I just heard.

“What’s that?” you ask.

Brace yourselves…

Next year you can get HBO without a cable subscription.

Now let it sink in.

Awesome right!?

I know.

Like many of you, I’ve got a two year contract with Fios for my TV, internet and phone.

When I switched from Comcast to Fios, I signed up for the bundled service with that great introductory price.

Once I added the DVR box, the additional set top boxes, and premium channels to the mix, that “great introductory price” went away.

And I end up with a bundle costing me a cool two bills a month.

Outside of the occasional on-demand movie or DVRd show I missed when it originally aired, I was just throwing away money with my cable subscription.

With the exception of HBO, I rarely watch anything on EPIX, STARZ, or any of the other premium channels I pay so dearly for.

So you can imagine my delight to hear that I’ll be able to decouple from cable and still get my HBO on.

Well maybe you can’t actually imagine my delight – but I am delighted damn it!

It’s true.

I started transitioning away from cable a few years ago when I got my Apple TV.

With Hulu Plus, Netflix, and iTunes, I’ve got access to virtually the same content as if offered on premium cable channels.

And the HBO GO app also allows me to watch all the content on that channel (albeit with my cable subscription) on the go.

The bigger thing for me, though, is not the decoupling of HBO from cable, it’s the precedent that HBO has set with this move.

Already, premium networks like EPIX, STARZ, ESPN, and Showtime have apps that let you access their content on demand.

With Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire and gaming systems like Xbox and Playstation all offering streaming services, once other broadcast companies follow suit, you’re no longer going to be beholden to the cable companies.

And soon(er than later) you’ll be able to cut the ties that bind (literally and figuratively) and get rid of that stupid cable bill.

We’ll have to see what kinds of deals HBO is able to strike with other set top box manufacturers, and how many of them ultimately end up carrying the channel.

But it’s definitely a sign of things to come.

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YouTube, you’re bugging. No one is paying for your videos.

youtube_premium

I’ve been hearing the most ludicrous rumors concerning YouTube.

Apparently, someone at Google thinks it would be a good idea to start charging folks to watch certain channels.

For a small fee, say $5, users would have access to “premium” content on YouTube.

Really?

So the site that has millions of free user-generated videos is now going to switch to a pay model?

Whatever!

You know I’m not trying to pay for YouTube.

Or any other social media service for that matter.

And it’s not like it’s Netflix (for which I have a subscription).

Where you can dial up the movie you want to watch.

And they’re movies – not videos.

But maybe that’s where they’re going next.

YouTube aspires to be the Netflix of videos?

But which videos?

Are labels going to start charging you to watch the music videos of their artists?

Bad idea.

Maybe I’m dense, but I can’t think of any scenario where folks would be willing to come off that cash for some video (when that same content was formerly free).

Sure, the freemium model dictates that you give something of value away initially to induce a later spend.

But YouTube has been free since the word go.

They blew past that incentive point – where if they flipped to a paid model folks would be willing to pay – a while ago.

Now it just looks like they’re trying to make money by any means necessary.

Or maybe they’re trying to provide incentives to content creators to partner with Google.

If you recall, a few years ago, Google flirted with this subscription video model.

They offered content creators the opportunity to set up premium channels, where they could charge users to watch their videos.

Needless to say, the idea didn’t take.

Why they’re resuscitation this obviously flawed strategy again now is beyond me.

Maybe they’re just gluttons for punishment.

Maybe it’s the 800 million YouTube searches that are performed daily.

Or the 4 billion hours that folks watch each month.

Maybe they’re trying to offer an alternative to the current ad-supported model.

Whatever the motivation, we’ll have to wait and see how folks respond.

Google hasn’t indicated when the first of the paid videos or channels will be available.

In fact, no one is quite sure of the exact pricing mechanism they intend to employ.

But I can tell you this: I won’t be paying a damn thing!

Who knows, maybe the second time’s a charm.

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Filed under opinion, social media