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Verizon FiOS Customers Get HBO GO

HBO has long since been acknowledged as one of the industry leaders in providing excellent television, even if they do cancel some of their best series right when they start getting interesting.  Instead of offering a moratorium for great shows such as Deadwood and Rome, this post is dedicated to an interesting use of the Internet: streaming content, and a lot of it.

HBO GO, The Best Reason To Have Broadband EVERYWHERE You Go

Despite HBO’s penchant to cancel great shows in or just before their prime, the fact of the matter is that HBO literally owns a mountain of amazing content.  Little Britain USA, Extras, Rome, Deadwood, Carnivale, OZ, Six Feet Under, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Band of Brothers, Da Ali G Show, Def Comedy Jam, and True Blood are just a few of the firm’s amazing programs, and that list is already quite extensive.  In addition to the television shows, HBO has long since been known as a major carrier of top-notch sporting events, unique movies, and documentaries that currently appear under the America Undercover brand.  The point is that HBO has a library that has something it it for everyone.  Add in content from other branded channels, especially HBO Family, and one would be hard pressed to browse through the entire library of content and not find something that they aren’t absolutely taken by.

The question many might be asking about now is: what is HBO GO and how does all this content fit in with HBO GO?  The answer is the HBO GO is a website, but it is also a content delivery method.  HBO GO offers select HBO content anywhere that a broadband connection is available, even over wireless devices that are connected via some form of suitably fast mobile broadband.  This happens to be nearly perfect timing because the Apple iPad and other amazing mobile devices seem poised to build up public interest in wireless broadband technologies.  Of course, a desktop or laptop can also be used to access HBO GO, but what makes today’s news truly interesting is that Verizon FiOS customers can also access HBO GO content if they have a subscription to the HBO package.

If that news has one scratching their head, then it might be worth noting that Comcast customers have also had access to this same content for a short while, and the venture seems to have merit in the eyes of HBO executives and the powers that they answer to.  Explaining the appeal of this approach to everyone outside the boardroom probably requires a brief overview of IPTV, so without further adieu…

HBOGo is a Sure Sign That IPTV is Changing the Game

While it is no secret that IPTV is likely to change the very future of broadcasting, only a handful of studios have really started exploring alternate methods of content delivery.  This apprehension is certainly understandable, as some may not really have any amazing ideas on how to bring that content to the masses.  While some studios are stuck waiting for the next big thing, others are naturally reticent, perhaps fearing a deterioration in their relationship with local carriers.  A few major names have made bold progress, taking enormous steps forward and delivering content online.  HBO is joining these ranks, but the question many might have is simple: Why?

From HBO’s perspective, the answer is that the company is completely at the mercy of an intermediary: the cable companies around the country.  Most other industries at least offer producers of goods and/or services the choice of dealing directly with customers, but the cable industry is quite different.  Giving HBO GO away to Verizon FiOS customers that already have HBO GO certainly makes sense for HBO, but why would Verizon go along with it?  Chances are that Verizon realizes that the writing is on the wall, after all they use a form of IPTV in their FIOS system and offer wireless broadband, DSL and fiber optic broadband to millions of customers.  In short, Verizon is not a company mired in the past, but looking into the future, and that future is IPTV powered by broadband.

What could Verizon have in mind?  One possible idea would be for HBO to deliver content via an app or even allow new FiOS customers who do not opt for HBO GO to have a trial.  That trial might drive sales, and HBO has placed a few limits as to the content available on HBO GO.  Current limitations may be in place to keep from ruffling feathers and generating law suits, which would certainly but a damper on inter-company relationships and rule out such future cross-promotional possibilities.

What is truly amazing is that the customers win with the current and possible future arrangements between HBO GO and digital cable providers.  When was the last time that two major companies got together and the result was good for their customers and/or the general public?  That rarely, if ever happens.  IPTV is essentially to the dawn of a new era in television consumption and advertising, and HBO is near the forefront.  Hopefully their example will inspire others, and hopefully carriers will gracefully permit the change instead of fighting tooth and nail like the music industry did over digital content distribution.

Author: Chad Weirick

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Photo Credit: skippyjon

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

abbstrack March 12, 2010 at 12:17 am

Good info, but I’m not sure how the customers win under the current arrangement. HBO (and potential paying customers) are at the mercy of the intermediaries, the service providers. As someone who has been contemplating ditching cable because I’m tired of being thrown in the middle of million dollar arguments (abc vs. cablevision, Fox vs. Time warner, etc…) HBO go would be the perfect solution for me. Ideally, I could ditch cable tv, keep my broadband, and subscribe directly for HBOGo access over broadband, (after all, arent we headed to that model of content delivery anyway)..however, since I’m a Time Warner customer, it is off limits for me. Sure it’s coming, but it sounds like I will still have to be an HBO ‘subscriber’ via cable, as opposed to saying, I dont want it on my TV, i’d rather pay $10/month for HBO solely via broadband.

I know we’re in the early stages of all of this, but I just think these service providers have entirely too much control.

Chad March 12, 2010 at 4:40 am

The way we see it, customers win because this is the first step of content providers divorcing themselves from the networks. The networks are likely to stick around for some time to come, especially since they offer amazing amounts of content that one might not know that they were missing, but the future is clearly a direct connection between studios and customers.

Randy Chapman April 26, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Can I receive hbogo when I am out of the US??

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