Those lucky folks in the Nordics just recently got access to an on-demand, over-the-top HBO service that bears more than a passing resemblance to HBO GO, but we here in the States haven’t been quite as fortunate.
Our own Ryan Lawler raised the Nordic situation with HBO Senior Vice President of Digital Platforms Alison Moore on-stage here at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, but the conversation quickly shifted to HBO’s intentions for the U.S. market.
“Here’s the thing: it’s math,” Moore said about the possibility of splitting HBO GO into a standalone service. “It’s a little presumptuous to say that $8 [a month per consumer] is going to make the business whole.”
That particular figure came from a surprising source — another panelist. The notion of splitting off the HBO GO service from the company’s ecosystem got considerable attention from panelist Dana Brunetti of Trigger Street (you know, the production company formed by Kevin Spacey). From where he sits, Brunetti thinks that HBO charging non-subscribers $8 a month or so (if you’ll recall, the average amount people would be comfortable paying was around $12) would be a “huge benefit to HBO” and a “huge benefit to the consumer.” Naturally, his response elicited more than a few cheers from the audience.
Moore wasn’t convinced by Brunetti’s logic, though. According to her, it’s easy to crunch the numbers externally and come to the conclusion that opening HBO GO to the masses would be a boon, but that doesn’t account for a handful of important factors, such as content production values, distribution, and marketing costs.
“It’s easy to say that, $8 a month, just launch it direct to consumer, and then it’s all going to be fine,” she explained. “I know there’s a lot more detail behind that.” The numbers may not add up for HBO (for now, anyway), but that won’t make cable-averse consumers covet the service any less.