In what could be a welcome and seismic crack in the foundation of bundled cable, Time Warner chairman and CEO Richard Piepler announced to shareholders Wednesday that HBO will break from bundled cable and offer a stand-alone streaming service. From a press release:
“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.
“So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners. And, we will explore models with new partners. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”
As of now, the only way you can subscribe to HBO is through your cable company, and with an expensive bundled cable package. That might be legal, but it’s still a racket, a scheme, an immoral monopoly that forces customers to pay for and subsidize dozens of channels and networks they never watch.
In the age of streaming, something had to eventually give, and it just did.
Netflix has 50 million customers and is growing by leaps and bounds. Meanwhile, bundled cable and satellite companies are experiencing either no growth or a drop in subscribers. Despite an ever-growing population, bundled cable television is no longer a growth business. As a result, HBO could either continue to tie its fortunes to a failing business model or pursue the Netflix model.
By pursuing the Netflix model, though, HBO will accelerate the fall of bundled cable.
How many bundled cable subscribers are bundled cable subscribers just so they can watch “Game of Thrones”?
How many bundled cable subscribers will cancel their bundled cable now that they can get HBO without it?
How many people will never even considering signing up for bundled cable now that they can get HBO without it?
The fewer bundled cable subscribers, the more likely it is that other networks (Showtime, Turner Classic Movies, AMC, ESPN) will pursue the Netflix model. The more networks that jump, the faster the bundled cable death spiral.
Bundled cable is immoral. In order to watch Fox News and Turner Classic Movies, we’re forced to pay for and subsidize crap like CNN and MSNBC and MTV — crap that’s pumped into our homes and profits from our cable bills regardless of whether we watch or even want it.
It doesn’t matter that on average of only 200,000 people watch MSNBC or 350,000 watch CNN. Both networks are making hundreds of millions of dollars a year because they are available in nearly 100 million homes. The only way to put these (and dozens of other) propaganda networks out of business, is to kill bundled cable.
The game is now so rigged by the left’s gigantic entertainment conglomerates, they no longer need viewers to make billions off of us.
The only way for the little guy to beat them is to cut the cable cord.
John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC