Media

'Internet-plus-HBO' may move to more cable networks

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Comcast and AT&T have each been offering an bundle of Internet plus HBO (and a basic cable channel package) on a trial basis, and it now looks like the offer maybe moving to other Pay TV services as well, Bloomberg reports.

Comcast and AT&T sell the trial service for 40 bucks. Only new customers can access the plans, and the price point is promotional and doesn’t last forever.

The “Internet Plus” trial is targeted at the cord-cutters among us — the 10 million or so (younger) cable customers who buy cable Internet but not TV service. Today, about 100 million U.S. households buy cable packages.

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Above: Comcast’s Internet plus HBO offer.

HBO’s parent, Time Warner Cable, believes the HBO has big growth potential, and says that’s one of the big reasons it’s been resistant so far to an acquisition by Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.

HBO believes cable consumers would be willing to pay a healthy price for it’s programming alone, apart from all the other channels in a typical cable package. And analysts say the research bears this out.

“Game of Thrones” and “Boardwalk Empire” are two of the HBO shows that are driving the network’s worth right now. But HBO has been the pioneer in high quality original content starting as far back as The Sopranos.

For Pay TV operators, the problem with the Internet-plus-HBO plans is that existing customers don’t get the same deal, so they’re at risk for dropping out. Most cable customers pay more than a hundred dollars a month for a large package of cable channels (many of which they don’t want), of which HBO is a part.