HBO Spurns Netflix, Will Take On Streaming Video Alone

Netflix has said a few times that it would love to partner with HBO to offer its original TV series on Netflix Instant Watch. But HBO seems intent on going solo.


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).

About the author

Dan Nosowitz is a freelance writer and editor who has written for Popular Science, The Awl, Gizmodo, Fast Company, BuzzFeed, and elsewhere. He holds an undergraduate degree from McGill University and currently lives in Brooklyn, because he has a beard and glasses and that's the law.