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John Snow, Game of Thrones

Premium TV channel HBO said today it will not be forming a partnership with video rental service Netflix.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings insinuated that his company might form an agreement with HBO — either through a future content licensing agreement or content distribution deals — in a Q2 2012 letter to shareholders yesterday. In the letter, Hastings wrote: “While we compete for content and viewing time with HBO, it is also possible we will find opportunities to work together — just as we do with other networks.”

Many consider HBO’s content to be a very valuable commodity. HBO subscribers justify spending an extra $30 per month on their already expensive cable bills to watch shows like Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, and True Blood. All of HBO’s original programming is only accessible through traditional TV subscriptions or through the channel’s streaming service HBO Go — meaning Netflix subscribers can’t watch it.

“We are not in discussions and have no plans to work with Netflix,” a HBO spokesperson told Reuters.

I’m not sure why Hastings’ comments got so much attention. Netflix previously branded itself as being more competitive with HBO than with other streaming video competitors, like Hulu and Amazon Prime. Also, HBO has historically been known to play hardball with Netflix. HBO has not only refused to license HBO original TV shows, it also forced Netflix to purchase DVDs at full retail price for use in its DVD-by-mail rental service.

However, one area where Netflix and HBO may end up working together in the future could be in co-financing future original shows. But for now, HBO seems intent on not forming any kind of deal.

Game of Thrones image via HBO

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