In 2012, when Jake Caputo created the website Take My Money, HBO, begging the cable network to launch a streaming service that would allow fans to fork over their money in exchange for easy, Internet access to HBO, the company paid little attention. Although the site attracted 163,673 people within the first 24 hours, Caputo says “HBO never contacted me. They sent out a tweet like a few days after the whole thing. It said something along the lines of, ‘Love the love for HBO, but nothing is imminent.'”
But apparently Caputo made more of an impression on HBO than he thought. To promote the launch of HBO Now, HBO’s new, $14.99 a month streaming service–currently available on Apple TV and through participating pay-TV partners–HBO called up Caputo and flew him to New York. (The 30-year-old lives with his wife outside of Chicago.) All Caputo was told was that he’d be participating in some marketing for HBO Now and would be sitting down for an interview.
In fact, HBO had something a little more elaborate (and hilarious) up its sleeve. Check out the video that resulted from Caputo’s New York jaunt:
In our feature story about the origins of HBO Now, Caputo talks about the inspiration for the site. As a die-hard HBO fan, he was frustrated that watching shows like Game of Thrones and True Blood meant dealing with–and paying for–cable, which he didn’t have. Even HBO Go, HBO’s original streaming service, was only accessible to people who subscribed to HBO the old-fashioned way. So one night, while he was waiting for his wife to come home from work and munching on leftover ribs, he started fooling around on the computer.
“I built it the site about two hours,” he says. As it began to take off, “I had people tweeting me, somehow people were tracking down my phone number on the Internet and calling me. It just kind of blew up.”
Three years later, Take My Money, HBO is once again blowing up. Since posting the teaser video less than six hours ago, Caputo says it’s received over 44,000 visits. This time, HBO is very much paying attention.