HBO’s dad or mum, WarnerMedia, is complicated the plenty by launching a brand new broader streaming service referred to as HBO Max alongside present providers HBO NOW and HBO Go. The the reason why kind a posh however fascinating historical past of contemporary American media growth.
HBO Is the Unique TV Subscription Service
Again when televised content material got here into the house through microwave antennas as an alternative of web tubes, HBO was based as a paid service for one of the best content material obtainable in sports activities, comedy, movies, and documentaries. Its first broadcast in November 1972 was an NHL sport adopted by a Paul Newman and Henry Fonda film.
Since its inception, HBO has thrived as a subscription-based tv service all through the satellite tv for pc, digital, and streaming eras. Whereas it was often America’s extra prosperous households that would afford the satellite tv for pc dishes or cable bins required to even entry the costly subscription, numerous Individuals have seen resorts and motels promoting “Free HBO.” This changed the ever present “Free Shade TV” attraction.
It was greater than unique content material for adults and kids that made HBO a nationwide media large. Alongside the success of HBO’s unique specials, a gradual development of sophisticated contracts with prospects, companions, and opponents alike made the HBO model nationally synonymous with premium content material, whereas concurrently constructing a large headache of rights restrictions, entry points, and exclusivity offers that would all fluctuate primarily based on numerous minute components.
HBO Is a Tangle of A long time-Previous Contractual Relationships
Over the many years, HBO grew into what it’s at present by way of all types of consolidations, buyouts, joint-venture teams, and extra enterprise nonsense; all whereas specializing in the paying prospects who nonetheless might need an HBO dish of their yard (or, gods forbid, their entrance yard). These authorized obligations are the first driver behind WarnerMedia’s choice to “simplify” the problem by launching an entire new service as an alternative of untangling this authorized nightmare.
HBO’s first transfer into the digital area launched in 2001: a free add-on service for present subscribers referred to as HBO On Demand. It’s nonetheless round, though solely present subscribers can entry it. Eight years later, HBO launched HBO on Broadband, which was rebranded as HBO Go the next yr. It was functionally just like HBO On Demand, however as an alternative of solely being obtainable to HBO’s direct subscribers by way of a cable field, HBO Go was made digitally obtainable by way of contractual partnerships for purchasers that held their very own contracts with firms like AT&T, Comcast, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, and extra.
Nonetheless, even with the launch of the HBO Go streaming service, the one technique to pay for HBO was to subscribe through a TV supplier. You couldn’t pay HBO for it straight.
Fourteen years after HBO On Demand launched, HBO created HBO Now as a standalone subscription that would compete with rising streaming providers like Netflix and the Blockbuster Film Cross. You can subscribe to it from HBO’s web site, even with no TV or cable contract.
As this was HBO’s new service, the content material was largely restricted to HBO originals. In 2020, HBO’s dad or mum firm WarnerMedia developed a large growth of HBO Now referred to as HBO Max that received’t change HBO Now however will leverage the dad or mum’s large holdings throughout the entire of mediadom to develop the content material providing general.
HBO has a large present buyer base to contemplate. Whereas the variety of providers is complicated, new and previous prospects will get a substantively higher product with HBO Max. In the meantime, HBO can nonetheless honor the complicated contracts with the tens of millions of consumers and dozens of companions that HBO has engaged over the previous half century.