"Sorry Cheapskates"


Dan Frommer:

This isn’t to say that HBO and Time Warner shouldn’t study or consider the idea of selling subscriptions direct to consumers. But do you really expect one of the biggest cable giants to lead the attack on cable — with no popular, promising alternatives?

This, of course, opens HBO to potential disruption by the likes of Netflix, YouTube, etc. And piracy, yes. So, studying the TV industry’s evolution and reacting when it’s time will be crucial for networks like HBO. (Many will inevitably react too slow, and will die. That’s why Netflix went nuts with that whole Qwikster thing, remember?) But Time Warner simply has too much invested into the cable industry — which is still very strong — to flip today.

At this point, it would still probably be more lucrative for HBO to squeeze a little more out of the Comcasts of the world than to lead the charge against them.

In many respects, I admire the candor of the TakeMyMoneyHBO campaign. Being relatively young, I certainly sympathize with those that are unwilling to spend the hundreds of dollars requisite for a competent cable package with HBO inclusion.

And yet, for all of the legitimacy of the cause, the opening statement on the TakeMyMoneyHBO site serves to profoundly undercut the credibility of the petition:

We pirate Game of Thrones, we use our friend’s HBOGO login to watch True Blood…

This juvenile attitude toward a truly impressive and powerful content creation network strikes me as utterly meaningless. Perhaps HBO should look into opening the doors to the broader public, but I doubt it will make such allowances based upon the whims of self-confessed pirates.

If you deem HBO to be worth your attention, then there is one legal manner to attain the content. If you want to legally watch such content, there is no reason in the world — aside from reticence to spend money — that any individual should not be able to have access to HBO. It would, indeed, be wonderful if content creators and providers would open their gates to novel new avenues for accessibility and revenue, but such is not the current state of the marketplace.

The market will, of course, move in that direction in due course, but it will not be for the adolescent cries of people on Twitter. Knocking on the door of a shop you admire and telling them you would stop robbing them if they allowed for an entirely new way to purchase their wares is not likely a path toward measured, polite discourse, but rather the inflammation of an already delicate situation.