HBO has a la carte streaming ready to go … whenever we stop tolerating cable

Earlier this week HBO CEO Richard Plepler addressed the cable network’s recent surge of success and the attempt to remain flexible as the television industry inevitably moves closer and closer to broadband-only distribution models. At the end of the day, this is encouraging news for cord-cutters. 

Speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom conference, Plepler explained that the all-star network is positioned so that, at any time, it can transition to a solely broadband-delivered distribution model. This move would most likely involve repositioning HBO Go as an independent subscription option for cable cutters looking to access their content entirely via the web.

And although Plepler pointed out that HBO’s traditional model is still very much a viable generator of profit (2013 was HBO’s best all-around year in 17 years with 2 million new subscribers), just about every service provider is scrambling to solidify a plan for when that day finally comes — a “singularity” of sorts; a point at which every consumer no longer tolerates the old-school model, demanding a broadband-based subscription to digital content that’s progressive and affordable.

There’s a whole lot of madness swirling around the battle between big broadcasters and online/streaming content services. Just two days before Plepler’s speech at the Morgan Stanley conference, Dish Network finagled access to an extensive array of content out of Disney by giving some on its advertisement-skipping Auto-Hop feature, a move that inspired a similar move by DirecTV yesterday. Both Dish and DirecTV are constructing their own HBO GO-esque services in anticipation of the pay-TV doomsday. The big networks have a few other eyesores to take care of — ongoing lawsuits targeting Aereo and FilmOn have snowballed into an upcoming Supreme Court shootout. Aereo and FilmOn rebroadcast network content via online means, without paying licensing fees to said networks.

More and more companies and services are moving into the broadband-delivered content realm, and increasing numbers of them are realizing that such a move will eventually have to happen if they’re to remain in the game.

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