HBO doesn’t want your money

HBO confirms that they don’t have plans, for the time being, on allowing people to purchase HBO without a cable subscription:

“Take My Money, HBO!” is a very simple Web page that was started this week by Jake Caputo, a Web designer who wants to be able to subscribe to HBO via the Internet. The page asks: “How much would you pay monthly for a standalone HBO GO streaming service? Enter a number and Tweet it to let HBO know we want it and we will pay.” The page quickly gained attention from others like Mr. Caputo who want to subscribe to HBO without having to subscribe to a cable or satellite provider like Comcast or DirecTV.

Of course, HBO’s message included the words “for now” — a reminder that as the economics of television change, so too could HBO’s calculations about its relationships.

This will change in time. Will it be a year? Five years? 10 years? I don’t know, but the market will break HBO. The people will break HBO.

The future is in streaming and mobile, two things HBO does terrible or not at all. HBO can’t keep delivering a product that doesn’t work for people without cable and doesn’t work for mobile users.

In the short term, I’d settle for HBO making its mobile product better.

In the meantime, HBO will continue to lead in piracy and people will continue to share HBO Go accounts and do group viewings. Make no mistake, people are watching HBO content. It’s HBO’s choice on how many people they want to actually pay for it.