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HBO Exec in Denial About Cord Cutting Nation


I may be a movie critic by trade, but I still love me some television.

Yet this week I ordered a new Blu-ray player capable of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus to my flat-screen set. It’s the first step in what likely will be my move away from traditional cable TV services.


If someone like me is thinking about “cutting the cord” then the cable industry should take the subject very seriously.

Don’t tell that to HBO Co-President Eric Kessler. The cable executive told a gathering at VideoSchmooze NYC earlier this week that there is “no chance” his company will make its original content available to non-HBO subscribers and that cord cutting is a passing fad.

Kessler explained that HBO not only considers companies like Netflix and Hulu to be competitors, but that the company also believes that “cord cutting” is a “temporary phenomenon” that will disappear as the U.S. economy improves. The idea of licensing its content to other services, he said, isn’t one that the company would seriously consider because the company considers content, and not licensing, to be its core revenue source.

Consumers can feel Kessler’s pain regarding the constantly changing media landscape. It’s hard to know how things will shake out and what revenue models will still be standing in five years. But Kessler is delusional if he thinks the cord-cutting movement will end once the economy rebounds. If consumers are getting most of their content on their own terms and at less than half the price via streaming services, then why bother with cable or dish services?

And, if that means waiting a few months to watch “Hung,” “Entourage” and “Boardwalk Empire” on Blu-ray or DVD, so be it.


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