HBO today acknowledged an ongoing viral Internet campaign to convince the premium cable channel operator to allow people to subscribe to its streaming service HBO GO without signing up for the channel itself, but said it would not be making this option available — at least for now.
Launched by web designer Jake Caputo, "Take My Money, HBO!" invites Twitter users to tweet the amount of money they would pay for a standalone HBO GO streaming service.
"We pirate Game of Thrones, we use our friend's HBOGO login to watch True Blood...Please HBO, offer a standalone HBOGO streaming service and Take My Money!" the single-serving site entreats.
"Love the love for HBO. Keep it up," the network replied via its official Twitter account, adding that "for now," TechCrunch's Ryan Lawler "has it right" when he says that "there's no way that HBO could make up in online volume the number of subscribers it would lose from cable."
Tech writer Dan Frommer concurs. "It's just not enough...to drive HBO away from its lucrative, long-term relationships with cable companies," he says of the $12-a-month average people say they are willing to part with for a standalone HBO GO. "If you could come up with $1 billion a month, maybe they'd talk. But $12 per sub? Nope."
Still, as the New York Times' Brian Stelter notes, the key words in HBO's tweet are "for now," which he says offer "a reminder that as the economics of television change, so too could HBO's calculations about its relationships."