Sarah E. Mason
It's Been a Nice Ride Cable Cos, for You
Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Heard about this? HBO announced that as of 2015 they will be launching a stand-alone online service, without cable. It was just a matter of time. I'm frankly shocked it didn't happen sooner. But what does this mean for big bad Time Warner, and satellite companies like DirecTV? They're gonna have to change their pricing structures stat or they will be losing premium subscriptions faster than they can say, New Bundle!
But will changing their pricing do the trick? We don't yet know what HBO will charge for the online only subscription but if they're trying to catch up to Netflix and Amazon Prime it can't be more than $12 per month. Netflix just announced a $12 per month family plan and Amazon Prime offers, well, everything with their subscription including the oh so holiday-friendly free 2 day shipping. So let's say, for the sake of argument, it's $12 per month, currently a subscription HBO via DirecTV is $17.99 per month, which includes (for 3 months only) Showtime and Cinemax. And there's a variety of bundles that bring it down to $13 if you have other premium channels. However, as well all know, you can't pick and choose your channels with any of the cable or satellite cos. You want it, you buy it, everything. Useless, endless channels that we never watch just to get Comedy Central and AMC. And $17.99 or more for HBO? That's insane.
So why would anyone keep paying for premium channels? And for that matter, will people keep paying for cable and satellite? Pretty much the only reason I still have DirecTV is for HBO and Showtime. And for some reason I feel compelled to stay connected to broadcast television, for now.
No sooner did HBO drop their bomb on Time Warner's big money hopes did CBS drop another. CBS announced their answer to streaming with a $5.99/monthly VOD only service available immediately. Nicely done CBS! This move all but secures big cable's death. Unless they dramatically drop their prices and improve their customer service, it's game over.
More on this as it unfolds. I'll be watching carefully for that inevitable moment when I can proudly exclaim myself to be, a cord cutter.