The zen of HBO Go and let’s get ready for upfronts week!

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

First: Podcast. Movies. 

All right. So. Has anyone else caught wind of this Time magazine article profiling how young Americans don't want to pay for television anymore? No? Oh. Well, shame on you.

Because as you'll see if you take a few minutes to read through only the first few paragraphs, you'll find a pretty worthwhile nugget of information. From the fabulous Rebecca Nelson ...

"Bernadette Aulestia, HBO’s senior vice president of domestic network distribution, says the premium cable network uses HBO GO, a companion video streaming service, to hook millennials on popular shows like 'Girls,' 'Game of Thrones' and 'Eastbound and Down' while they have access to their parents’ subscriptions," Nelson wrote. "When they grow up and settle into better-paying, 9-to-5 jobs, she says, they are more likely to add HBO to their cable packages. 'When you think about what the next generation of consumers is for us, as they then graduate, household formation, then get the house, get the 40-inch screen and ultimately, decide on the types of services, that they’re going to subscribe to us,' Aulestia says. 'The earlier you can expose customers to the content and get them vested, and part of the dialogue and the water cooler types of shows that we produce, the better.' HBO is confident that this model will succeed. Maybe millennials can’t afford cable and HBO on top of it right now. As soon as they grow up and start making more money, though, cable companies are betting it will become a part of their lives just as it has for their parents."

And to think: This comes after the piece explains that The Diffusion Group found that 13 percent of U.S. households who have broadband services don't have pay-television, and of those, 2.6 million have never paid for traditional TV. How loaded can one article be?!

No, but seriously ... wow. I've long wondered about what HBO was going for with its HBO Go service. The explanation that Ms. Aulestia offers is, in a word, revelatory.

The only real question: What's Netflix's excuse?

It's inevitable that these accounts are going to be misused — i.e. shared — by people who aren't paying for them. But if you don't have a network to sit at the other end of it, then how do you stand to maximize your service's profitability? The HBO approach is both clever and logical ... for HBO. Last time I checked, though, a Netflix premium cable channel doesn't exist. As someone who shamelessly takes advantage of someone else's instant streaming account, I often wonder how Big Red can keep its head above water.

And now ... well, I still don't know. But, at least I know why HBO does it. The approach is smart, and it's not unreasonable to suggest that other networks will be using the exact same formula sooner rather than later. Don't believe me? Fine. Just remember that CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX are all flirting with forcing everybody to pay for their networks because of our little upstart friend, Aereo. Depending on how those countless court battles pan out, the entire industry could be on its head in five years.

Now, I'm not in the business of saying "I told you so," but ...

Upfronts Upfronts Upfronts

The single most readable writer in all the land, Lisa De Moraes, took some time to focus one of her final Washington Post columns this week (sad face doesn't do my expression justice) to write at length — and I mean, at length — about the news that has already trickled out regarding next week's upfronts. And because we here at TV Without A TV have spent the last two years mindlessly babbling on and on about each major network's prospects, why don't we take a few minutes to read some of what Ms. De Moraes had to say ...

"Fox got a jump on Broadcast Upfront Week late Wednesday night when it announced it had, to no one’s surprise, picked up its JJ Abrams android buddy cop pilot 'Almost Human' for next season," she wrote Wednesday, "as well as a 'House' — esque Greg Kinnear starrer called 'Rake' (brilliant, charming, self-destructive criminal defense lawyer lacks self-edit gene), and Seth MacFarlane’s new live-action comedy, 'Dads,' about two successful guys (Seth Green and Giovanni Ribisi) whose dads move in with them.

"Also ordered is a 'thrilling new action adventure,'" she continued, tongue planted firmly in cheek, "about Ichabod Crane. You know, the superstitious, cowardly schoolmaster who got terrified out of town when his rival for the hand of a wealthy guy’s daughter dressed up like a ghost of a legendary Revolutionary War soldier who’d had his head blown off by a cannonball and lobbed a jack-o-lantern at poor Ichabod."

Oh, how missed you will be.

She goes on and on and on to add a ton — and I mean a ton — of information on how all of next week may go down. It's worth your time, friends. Especially considering how the world will be in short supply of such fabulousness sooner rather than later. Expect us to begin early next week with our annual Upfronts reaction.

And to all a good night.

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