HBO hasn't exactly warmed to the broadband-driven Internet video revolution. Over the years they've been accused of poisoning
copies of their TV shows available for download via BitTorrent, petitioned the FCC
to make DVR recording of subscription video-on demand illegal, and even hinted at
possibly suing Slingbox for allowing the re-transmission of their content. In early 2010 the company finally revealed their Internet video service HBO Go
, but hid it behind a paywall, requiring that consumers have both a cable subscription and a subscription to HBO.
Two years later and "Game of Thrones," HBO's adaptation of George R.R. Martin's fantasy series, is officially the most pirated television show -- possibly ever. Season two of the show has been downloaded more than 25 million times from public torrent trackers since it began in early April. Part of the problem is HBO has stubbornly made it difficult for legitimate users to buy their content, the first series notably absent from most online video services -- and only recently showing up on iTunes.
HBO could get with the times and offer HBO Go as a stand alone service, but they're not only apparently terrified of the revenue changes involved, but they're apparently hoping this whole Internet video thing just floats away magically. From a recent piece in Forbes
For people like me who wish HBO would sever ties with cable television and offer its own streaming service that didnt require a cable subscription, that doesnt look at all likely. HBO GO will remain available only to cable television subscribers rather than as a stand-alone service. HBO co-president Eric Kessler has said he thinks the move away from traditional television to an internet-based model is just a fad that will pass a temporary phenomenon tied to the down economy.
There's a very noticeable streak of denial running right down the center of the cable and broadcast industry, wherein many executives appear to believe that traditional cable is invulnerable to evolutionary competition, and that any shift they're seeing is caused by temporary phenomenon like the economy -- or the weather. Of course these folks' failure to adapt, alongside their stubborn refusal to seriously compete on price, will make the check due for Kessler and other cable industry executives sooner or later.