HBO mobile video app grows as ‘True Blood’ fans gorge
HBO counted on true-blue fans of "True Blood" to boost its HBO GO app subscriber over the 3 million mark
HBO pulled out the stops last night, in its efforts to both boost its HBO Go mobile app subscriber total over the 3 million mark and beat back Netflix and smaller-stakes player Hulu (CP: Hulu: The complicated matter of the money-maker's next play).
Directly following last night's season premiere of the Southern vampire goodness True Blood (now in its fourth season), HBO Go subscribers were immediately treated to the season's second episode as well.
For paying HBO subscribers with an accommodating cable company (Time Warner — like New Yorkers needed more reason to despise it — is not one of these). HBO GO is a free app for iPads, iPhones and Android devices, offering access to HBO's full catalog of content.
Hulu offers free access to just the last five episodes of a program, in most cases. And while for just 8 bucks a month Netflix subscribers can gain access to a helluva lot of content, HBO's most-acclaimed programs — among them "The Sopranos," "The Wire" and "Six Feet Under" — aren't part of the deal. Which for now is the playing card keeping HBO in the game.
HBO's cable channel has 28 million subscribers — a good number of whom it would like to get in bed with its app. Once it does — not a super-insane goal, given smartphone and tablet growth, that it's a component of something subscribers are already paying top-dollar for, and the fact that Netflix has 23 million subscribers — the question will arise of how to keep growing. Can HBO eventually, ever-so-delicately sidestep the cable companies? Keep up its streak of offering some of the best writing, and programming, on television, and become something of a curated, high-end Netflix?
That move likely won't come easily, or anytime soon, given how closely tied the channel is with iron-fisted cable companies. Time Warner subscribers, and other HBO fans yet to download the app, will have to wait until July 3 for "You Smell Like Dinner" — that tantalizing second episode.
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