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‘HBO GO’ Coming to DirecTV, iPad

11 Apr, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Time Warner’s HBO GO on demand platform is set to bow April 12 to DirecTV subscribers and May 2 as an app on the Apple iPad tablet computer and iPhone.

HBO GO represents Time Warner’s ambitious strategy to circumvent burgeoning Netflix/Amazon streaming platforms and shrinking cable (less so satellite TV) subscriber bases by offering free repurposed HBO content on demand on multiple devices.

Similar efforts by Time Warner Cable to offer repurposed third-party content via proprietary iPad app have been met by content owner criticism and litigation.Yet, with more than 700,000 subscribers abandoning premium pay-TV channels in 2010, cable operators are under pressure to retain and attract new subs.

HBO GO, which offers more than 1,400 titles, is currently in beta trials with Comcast Xfinity TV, Verizon FiOS, Cox Advanced TV and AT&T U–Verse.

Richard Greenfield, analyst with BTIG Research in New York, said the long-awaited availability of HBO GO beyond the PC could have the similar effect of ESPN’s iPhone/iPad app — launched April 7 — whereby content holders bow proprietary apps for third-party tablet devices.

“We believe launching on a platform such as the iPad, will force multichannel video distributors to sign deals with HBO for HBO GO,” Greenfield wrote in a post. “We expect the HBO GO app to inform subscribers of multichannel video distributors that do not offer HBO GO to call their provider and request they offer it.”

Greenfield said it remains to be seen whether HBO GO offers improved user navigation compared to the current HBO On Demand platform, which he said also offered limited HD content.




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