HBO Spurns Netflix, Will Take On Streaming Video Alone

Netflix and HBO seem like a great fit. They're both forward-looking, subscription-based services with an critical bent, and it would seem a natural fit to offer HBO's original content on Netflix. At least, that's how Netflix sees it—but HBO seems to disagree.

Netflix has said in the past that they'd love to partner with HBO. Said a Netflix spokesman, "We would love to do a deal with HBO. Compete with us or collaborate with us, but we'd much rather work with them." HBO has evidently chosen to compete, rather than collaborate.

Bloomberg reports that HBO is planning to offer streaming video exclusively through its own HBO Go service, which launched a few months back. HBO Go is currently available on PC and Mac, free to existing customers, but the company says it plans to launch an app on Apple's iPad as well as other mobile devices.

This seems like a shortsighted view on HBO's part. The network claims there's "a value in exclusivity," and that people will pay more for it, but there's also a value in not making customers use twelve different streaming video apps. HBO may simply not want to open up HBO streaming to non-HBO subscribers, but that may have little effect besides losing the company revenue from Netflix.

It's especially odd, considering Netflix has a deal with Epix, run by HBO's owner, Viacom, to stream many of the movies that also play on HBO. There's a precedent here—why not at least make older, off-air shows available on the biggest and best streaming site around? Of course, HBO may see the Netflix-Epix partnership as a potential competitor already, despite diplomatic responses like "it's been more of a complimentary service than a competitor."

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in Brooklyn (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).

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  • JKo

    Why does HBO have to do this and be annoying at the same time.  I am getting so fed up with this BS. I'm not buying an Xbox so I can see HBO on my TV, so Netflix is still superior in the options it offers. One forward, two steps back - sucks to be you, HBO.

  • Dave Cyra

    HBO has always been a little strange, like they're not sure how to attack their programming for a web-based platform.

    I used to use their HBO on Broadband (for Time Warner's Road Runner) to watch or catch up on my shows, and then, suddenly, they cut the program completely off and said they were done with it. It was a great addition and I was looking forward to watching Bored To Death and Entourage on my computer. Then in a blink of an eye they cut it loose for reasons unknown.

    Oh and personally I love how USA uses Hulu.