There’s a Web site called “Take My Money, HBO!” where people who wish they could pay to watch just HBO shows name their price. Jake Caputo, a designer who started the site on Tuesday, said 160,000 people visited in the first three days. The average price was $12.
This is how an error spreads. Nick Bilton’s $12 figure is sourced from TechCrunch, where Ryan Lawler said he threw out all the numbers over $50 — but doesn’t say he threw out any low numbers. The $12 figure is made-up; a truer indicator would be the median of all submitted figures.
Bilton bases more of his story on that figure, which is doubly irresponsible since the tweeted figures are only an unscientific poll.
AND the conversation is ignoring the possibilities of day-after Netflix, Hulu, Amazon or iTunes distribution, which HBO’s competitors are already trying.
But whatevs, no matter how much the numbers get faked for a theoretical HBO service, the torrent numbers are very real, very large, and increasingly justified.
That TechCrunch article actually fairly well explains why HBO can’t do this right now:
What would happen if HBO no longer had the pay TV industry’s marketing team propping it up all the time? The results would be disastrous, and there’s no way that HBO could make up in online volume the number of subscribers it would lose from cable. Which is why, even though some users would actually pay more for access to HBO GO without all the other cable channels, you won’t see it show up as a standalone service anytime soon.