Electric Shadow

HBO and the Sandstorm

Thinking a bit about Amazon today got me to thinking a bit about HBO.

Six months ago, Amazon Prime Instant picked up The Wire, Rome, and loads of HBO "back catalogue" original programming.

HBO Go is still not available for Amazon FireTV, but I think that's only the result of some sort of exclusivity deal expiring. Come 2015, HBO's standalone streaming service makes that moot.

Contrary to what Steve Burke says, I think it's ridiculous for HBO to not start gunning for Netflix in the standalone streaming arena. His spin almost reads like a Mafia Don making an idle threat, "when you been part of 'the family' for so long, why gotta go make trouble?" HBO chief Richard Plepler is right in noting that "hundreds of millions" have been left on the table due to a combination of cable bundle "Families" not actively driving up HBO subscriptions and HBO choosing not to go direct-to-consumer.

Sitting on the "first run" Iron Throne of original series has kept people bowing and paying into The Bundle for years. I've long opined that the sleeping giant is HBO's enormous back catalogue of made-for-HBO narrative and documentary movies, many of which haven't re-aired in years (some, decades). Many of them have rarely, if ever, been readily available on home video in any form, with the recent exception of blessed Warner Archive DVD releases. Couple all of that in-house content with HBO's multi-decade relationship with literally every studio in Hollywood.

The thing I keep seeing repeated is "Netflix should be scared of what is to come," but I think that's wrongheaded.

Even as an eventual little brother to HBO, Netflix has enough going for it that they can survive for a bit yet while they make some strategic acquisitions and beef up their offerings so as to not get pushed off the playing field. Netflix should be wary and think long-term, but they're radically more forward-thinking than "Cable" networks and "Cable Bundle" providers.

"Cable" complacent content businesses are the ostriches that'll get swept up in the sandstorm.