Posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by Angie Han
Cable-cutters have long hoped for a standalone HBO Go option, even petitioning the premium channel to “take my money” already. But according to Jeff Bewkes, that’s not a dream that’s likely to come true anytime soon.
The Time-Warner CEO stated today that such an offering simply isn’t in the company’s “economic best interest” right now, despite HBO chief Richard Plepler‘s tentative recent remarks to the contrary. Hit the jump to read Bewkes’ comments.
Since launching HBO Go a few years back, HBO has been pretty steady in its insistence that they have no intention of spinning it off into a separate service. However, Plepler got non-subcribers’ hopes up this spring when he acknowledged that the company “could evolve” to package HBO Go with broadband service instead of cable television service. “We would have to make the math work,” he cautioned, suggesting a monthly cost of $10-15 for the add-on HBO Go subscription.
But Plepler seems to have gotten a bit ahead of himself. AllThingsD reports that cable companies were none too pleased about those suggestions, and now Bewkes is asserting that no such plans are in the works. “We have the rights to do it,” he said in a call with analysts. “And we would do it if we thought it was in our economic best interest. At this point we don’t think it makes sense. We don’t think the target market is sufficiently large to be attractive at this point.”
While I’m sure plenty of would-be customers would vehemently disagree, it’s worth pointing out that it’s not just consumers HBO has to answer to. Any significant change to the HBO model could potentially piss off cable distributors. “So what we’re doing, and we think this is working pretty well — we’re working with the [pay TV operators] to increase the penetration of HBO Go in a mutually benefical way,” Bewkes explained.
That doesn’t mean a separate HBO Go is a total impossibility. The company offers a streaming-only service in Scandinavia called HBO Nordic, which some prognosticators theorized was a test run for a U.S. launch. But so far, a separate HBO Go option in the U.S. seems a long ways off. For his part, Bewkes only offers the vague statement that “We’re always going to keep evaluating it, depending on the country.” In other words, don’t hold your breath.