Market Insight

HBO expands its online viewing strategy with release of HBO Go app

May 12, 2011

Harold Vargas Harold Vargas Senior Analyst, Television Media
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HBO has achieved more than one million downloads of the mobile app offering access to HBO Go since its launch on 29 April. The mobile app is available on Apple's iPhones and iPads as well as Google's Android devices. HBO Go, which offers more than 1,400 titles from HBO and sister Cinemax, is available free of charge to customers already paying for HBO and Cinemax through a cable provider and if that cable provider has struck a deal with Time Warner to carry the service.

So far Comcast, Direct TV, Dish Network, Cox Communications, Verizon, AT&T, and Suddenlink offer HBO Go. Two major cable operators, Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, have yet to sign on.

Launched last year, HBO Go is designed to strengthen and enhance the value of its customer's subscription by expanding on their online viewing option. Just like its website counterpart, the app is designed to keep users subscribing to regular cable and its networks; it is by no means an alternative to customers who have 'cut the cord' as it requires a current subscription to a cable provider

HBO Go is available to about 80 per cent of the 39m HBO and Cinemax subscriber base through the cable operators that carry it, but the lack of carriage from Time Warner Cable and Cablevision means the most of the Los Angeles and New York City markets are lacking access to HBO Go. Part of this omission might soon be rectified as Time Warner Cable is in talks with its former owner Time Warner to carry the service and then HBO's approach to deliver its content to devices beyond the living room TV set will be available to almost all HBO subscribers.

HBO Go's mobile offering still keeps HBO's subscription model in place, while adding value to its content as it gives its subscribers more flexibility in viewing its content. HBO does this without alienating cable operators who have rolled out or are in the process of rolling out similar TV Everywhere services as HBO is keeping its product exclusive to HBO subscribers with an existing cable operator service.

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