HBO Shows Coming To PlayStation 3, But With An Eleven Month Window
Last week Sony and Time Warner reached a deal to make a limited number of HBO programs available to PlayStation 3 users at a cost of $2.99 per download. Full details of the service have not been disclosed but not surprisingly, HBO said that their shows won't be available for download until eleven months after the program first airs on TV and that the digital downloads will coincide with the release their DVDs.
Reading many of the quotes on this deal from executives at both HBO and Sony and it's very clear which side each company is taking. Jack Tretton, chief executive of Sony PlayStation is quoted as saying that, "networks like HBO can be beholden to the cable and satellite companies, or they can play wherever the consumers play." That's true, except for the fact that HBO makes the vast majority of their money from the cable and satellite companies and has no problem with this model. Sony is making it sound like HBO is trying to steer clear of the cable providers, by using new distribution channels like the PlayStation 3, when that's not HBO's intention at all.
In fact, HBO said the opposite when HBO Home Entertainment President Henry McGee said that the eleven month window will help preserve the pay TV model and won't give customers an incentive to drop their HBO TV service. No surprise there. HBO is a premium TV service which is the whole reason why they don't even make HBOGO.com (hands-on review of HBOGO.com) available to anyone who is not a pay TV subscriber.
It's also interesting to note that most TV shows that I have purchased via the PlayStation Network are priced at $0.99 yet HBO's shows are going to be priced at 3x that. Seems expensive for a show that is nearly a year old. Almost makes you wonder if HBO really doesn't want that many consumers to actually buy the content so as not to take away from their image of being a premium TV service offering.