"HBO Go" Online Channel

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Time Warner Inc. chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes unveiled HBO Go, a broadband complement to the premium network only for subscribers to the television service.

“We’re all being too slow,” Bewkes said. “We should put up all our networks on the Internet, out on broadband, right now. Get it out on home screens, broadband screens, put it on the Hulus and YouTubes, but only if people are subscribing to the video plant.”

At The Cable Show ’09, Bewkes unveiled a video of HBO Go, the broadband service that is only available to subscribers to the premium channel. Subscribers would access HBO Go through their cable provider’s Web site. From there, they would be able to view movies and series and set up their own watch lists.

 The other cable network executives on the panel appeared to support the Bewkes model.

News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch said that cable networks have to find a way to monetize the Web, before consumers begin to expect to get their content for free.

“The fact is with free content, people are used to it being free on the Internet,” Murdoch said. “Nobody is making any real money from the Web except search. We have to monetize it.”

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, however, expressed some concerns about the TV Anywhere model for traditional ad-supported cable networks.

“That anywhere model works well for Showtime or Epix,” Dauman said, naming two premium channels, the latter owned in part by Viacom. “When you’re relying on an affiliate revenue stream, it becomes a more complex issue.”

Dauman said the issue surrounding who gets paid in an online environment is a sensitive one, and Viacom is experimenting with several different scenarios that serve both the programmers and the distributors, including adhering to program windows.

“I think there is a middle ground,” Dauman said.

Written by: Simone Baldassarri Tuesday, 05 August 2008 00:00 Last Updated on Saturday, 18 April 2009 23:33

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