| SAN FRANCISCO, March 21
SAN FRANCISCO, March 21 HBO could widen access
to its HBO GO online streaming service by teaming up with
broadband Internet providers for customers who do not subscribe
to a cable TV service, according to HBO's Chief Executive
"Right now we have the right model," Plepler told Reuters on
Wednesday evening at the Season 3 premiere of HBO's hit TV show
"Game of Thrones." "Maybe HBO GO, with our broadband partners,
HBO launched HBO GO in 2010 to let subscribers view its
shows over the Internet on devices such as Apple Inc's
iPads. The service has about 6.5 million registered users,
compared with about 29 million for HBO's main service.
However, HBO GO is only accessible for viewers who pay for
cable TV service, plus an extra fee for HBO. This means monthly
bills of $100 or more typically. HBO GO is available to
subscribers of several pay TV companies that provide Internet
service such as Time Warner Cable, Comcast and
Plepler said late Wednesday that HBO GO could be packaged
with a monthly Internet service, in partnership with broadband
providers, reducing the cost.
Customers could pay $50 a month for their broadband Internet
and an extra $10 or $15 for HBO to be packaged in with that
service, for a total of $60 or $65 per month, Plepler explained.
"We would have to make the math work," he added.
HBO, owned by Time Warner Inc, relies on large
financial support from its cable and satellite TV partners to
help distribute and promote its shows.
Internet-only rivals such as Netflix Inc and
Amazon.com Inc are trying to disrupt this approach by
delivering original programming directly over the Internet.
This is a challenge to HBO, however it would be a risky step
for the company to by-pass its traditional distribution
partners, which provide HBO with lucrative subscription fees.
There are billions of dollars generated from HBO's existing
distribution network and to simply circumvent that would not
make business sense, Plepler said in January, according to the
Wall Street Journal.
"Doesn't mean we are not mindful that the problem exists,"