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HBO and Showtime Are Ready to Break Away from the Cable Pack

By Cindy Davis | Industry | September 11, 2014 |

By Cindy Davis | Industry | September 11, 2014 |

I’ve a picture in my head involving a certain sinking megaship and all its inhabitants scrambling for the shore…

For all the pirates, torrent-seekers and those borrowing your bestie’s HBO GO codes, never fear, the opportunity to buy may soon be yours. Sure, that may sound a little contrary to your bank account’s interests, but at least you won’t have to watch from the darkest corners of your house, waiting for The Man to break down your front door. For a mere pittance, premium cable may soon be yours.

Speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference yesterday, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said the parent company is moving toward selling directly to consumers instead of through satellite and cable companies:

“The broadband-only opportunity up until now wasn’t … at the point where it would be smart to move the focus from one to the other. Now the broadband opportunity is quite a bit bigger.”

Moving away from the cable model has also been on CBS’s Les Moonves’ mind; “Everybody in the media business is thinking about what is the most appropriate way to market your product. … Is there some time in the future when that could happen? Absolutely. I don’t know when that is…over the next three to five years, the business will change dramatically.”

After the successful implementation of Internet-only HBO Go to Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, HBO has been working with Comcast to offer U.S. customers a stripped down cable package of HBO GO, broadcast channels and broadband for approximately $50 per month; Bewkes says the experiment is showing a “very good demand for HBO.”

According to Forbes, Netflix is the motivation for both HBO and Showtime considering the jump from cable, after “Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ comments that he saw only HBO on his competitive radar.”

Time to wake up and smell your payback, oh monolithic, unmalleable cable gods. Remember all those times you had us over a barrel, refusing to break out the tiniest tube of lube before you…demanded we sign a multi-year, overpriced bundle-of-crap package? Have you been watching as your customers cut ties and run toward Apple TV, X-Box and XBMC? Waving, we are…

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)

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