December 16, 2011

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We Just Signed a Deal To Deliver HBO GO and MAX GO to Our Customers

Everything, absolutely EVERYTHING that I have posted on here, on my Twitter page, and seen on our Facebook page for the past 6 months or more has been met with the same followup questions:

  • When are you getting HBO Go?
  • Why don’t you have HBO Go?
  • How is it that you don’t have HBO Go?
  • Who is holding up a deal to offer HBO Go?
  • What are you trying to pull, not offering HBO Go?

And my favorite: “Any updates on HBO GO®? Do you have it yet?” as though this person has just returned from the island on “Lost.” Or thinks I am going to say “Duuude, riiiiight. I almost forgot! We totally signed a deal with HBO GO® last week and I FORGOT TO MENTION IT TO ANYONE.”

To be fair, all of the previous questions — except for my “favorite” one — are completely fair. And it’s natural to be antsy about this. HBO GO® is one of the coolest streaming tv apps out there, from the company that revolutionized TV by bringing cinematic storytelling and nuanced characters to a serialized format. And it has taken a really, really long time to reach a deal.

Unfortunately, I can’t comment on any of the particulars or hurdles. There are NDAs and business relationships to preserve, and I don’t even know the answers to the questions listed above in the first place.

Except that first one: “When are you getting a deal with HBO GO®?”

The answer is: AFTER MONTHS OF NEGOTIATING, WE JUST SIGNED A DEAL WITH HBO GO®

From our press release (click link for the whole thing):

Time Warner Cable today announced the upcoming launch of HBO’s authenticated online video destinations, HBO GO® and MAX GO®. The companies will run a brief beta trial and then the service is expected to launch to all Time Warner Cable customers who subscribe to HBO in the next month. Time Warner Cable customers who subscribe to HBO and/or Cinemax will have free, unlimited access to the corresponding online services at any time, on any computer in the U.S. with a high-speed Internet connection, as well as a host of other devices, including the iPad®.

“HBO GO has been a tremendous success with our subscribers,” said Eric Kessler, co-President of HBO. “We’re happy that Time Warner Cable customers will be able to enjoy this great product which provides streaming of HBO’s programming library.”

”We’re very pleased to have completed an agreement that’s good for our customers,” said Susan Weinstein, Group Vice President, Content Acquisition for Time Warner Cable. “HBO and Cinemax offer unique and compelling programming for our customers, and soon they’ll be able to access it all the time and anywhere.”

With the online services, Time Warner Cable customers get most new titles simultaneously with their premiere on the networks; the ability to create a “Watchlist” that keeps track of bookmarked content for later viewing; bonus content including interviews, recaps, and behind-the-scenes extras; and customizable views showing titles in slideshow, grid or list format. In addition, HBO GO can be personalized through a “Series Pass®” capability which automatically alerts viewers to new episodes of favorite HBO programs when they arrive on the service.

I’d like to highlight something from the press release pull-quote above:

Before we can offer this to every single customer, we need to work with HBO to run a short beta trial.

Every company’s tech infrastructure is different, and tweaks need to happen to keep things running smoothly for everyone. Every single other MSO has had to go through the same beta experience. And if this gets people up and running and watching “The Wire” smoothly on their iPads, we’re happy to comply.

We are working with HBO and our internal tech teams right now to determine the parameters of that beta trial, and will absolutely announce more specific details as soon as we can.

Once started, that beta trial should be overwith very quickly, and our customers will be streaming all of their favorite HBO shows shortly thereafter. Which is great for all of us. That’s when the weather gets the worst, and you just want to stay under the covers and watch the Sopranos again.

Now we can help that happen, and I can’t tell you how glad I am to deliver that message.

+- 42 Comments

  1. Zach's reply

    It’s about time! It’s ridiculous it took this long when your competitors have had it for ages, but that’s great news nonetheless. Was just about to cancel my HBO, too, so good timing on that one.

    Also, does this have any bearing on getting HBO On Demand in high definition in the Los Angeles area?

  2. JMillion's reply

    finally!

  3. Jonathan's reply

    I canceled HBO the day before you announced this because the price went up and I thought I wouldn’t be getting HBO go. I guess I’ll wait for your beta-testing to be complete and til HBO go is available and then I’ll add HBO again.

    Now if only you could get the NFL. Come next football season if it’s not there (namely Redzone), I’m probably jumping to uverse

  4. signature home customer's reply

    Last year this time you said we’d get ESPN3 on Xbox…why should we expect different?

  5. Sam's reply

    Congrats!

    Now how about you have a cocktail with Roger Godell and get TWC subscribers a little NFL. We know it isn’t that popular a sport and we are happy to stream from sketchy online sites, but access to the Thursday night nfl network games would be nice.

  6. JaredB2's reply

    I live in a apt and could care less about hbo go and cinemax go. Do you know how much I want nfl network in nfl red zone? if I could have uverse or fios then I would take those over t w c for that reason alone

  7. Joe's reply

    Would love to beta test this! I’ve been waiting since I bought my ipad2 when it came out!!

  8. Sotfig's reply

    YES!!!!

  9. Warren's reply

    Took way too long. Honestly, I care more about HBO than I do about TWC and not having HBO Go had me making phone calls to RCN, which I might do anyway if the rollout of HBO Go takes more than the promised month.

  10. 5w30's reply

    So now Time Warner is dumping the MSG channels? After TW paid all that cash to show Lakers and Galaxy soccer games in Los Angeles, and owns a good chunk of the Mets’ channel in NYC … you think you have a chance?

  11. Al's reply

    Time Warner Cable: Only a year behind everyone else. Looking forward to waiting another year for ESPN3 on Xbox. It would be lovely to have some more competition in the market, thanks Lobbyists!

    Gonna just wait until inevitably we can get HBOgo without paying for 1000 other junk channels.

  12. JMN's reply

    If ESPN3 isn’t running on Xbox by January, I’m switching to U-Verse. I had ATT prior to TWC and had no issues with ESPN3. Had I known that TWC didn’t support, I never would have switched. AT&T is a pain to deal with, but at least they have a product that works.

  13. Jonathan's reply

    You going to start working on getting Showtime Anytime now? UVerse already has it — they seem to be quicker than you to negotiate — hurry it up!

  14. Jose Rodriguez's reply

    Thanks for HBO GO, now let’s get ESPN3 in Xbox live and NFL network. I can’t believe it’s taking this long. Not only this but also to give access twc customers to the TNT, tbs, CNN apps in the IOs devices. Please stay more competitive and aggressive in getting things done soon than years later.

  15. Armando's reply

    I wonder if they’re going to screw XBox customers with HBOGo on XBL like the have with ESPN on XBL. Somehow it wouldn’t surprise me.

  16. RPad.TV's reply

    It’s about frickin’ time. This would have 50x more useful when Game of Thrones was in season. Better late than never, I suppose, but the delay on this will have me hoping that my next apartment offers AT&T U-Verse. Unfortunately for me, TWC’s substandard offerings and service are the only choice in my building.

  17. Gary's reply

    Jeff,

    Thank You for finally doing this.
    I would be very interested in the beta, feel free to contact me.

    Also, as someone who is not interested in sports at all, PLEASE make ALL these sports stations like MSG, ESPN, etc premium channels like HBO is. I’m tired of subsidizing these whiners “entertainment”.

  18. Melissa's reply

    As a Showtime subscriber I would really like to get Showtime Anytime. Please get access to that!

  19. Mo's reply

    Yes!! Finally!!

  20. Bill's reply

    Likewise, please consider bundling Hallmark, Lifetime, and the Oprah network. I’m tired of subsidizing Gary’s entertainment.

  21. Nate's reply

    <—- I.T. Owner with TWBC … BETA ME!

  22. Gary's reply

    Bill,
    I never even knew I had those stations, and have never watched them. Although they are considerably cheaper than MSG/ESPN, I agree, make them premiums like sports should be.

  23. George's reply

    So sorry to bother you by asking when a service that all your competitors already carried would be available. Must be a real joy to be that condescending to your customers. And if you don’t like communicating with people, online or not, maybe communications isn’t the field for you.

  24. M.Sciarrino's reply

    Care to take bets on whether we see it in 2011 or 2012.

  25. Jimmy Jazz's reply

    Along with a few others above, I was just ready to cancel HBO until the announcement, at least until GOT was back. Can’t find an answer to this: will TWC support HBO Go on the Roku? If not, it’s worthless to me.

  26. Ashleigh Wood's reply

    Finally, it shouldn’t have taken this long considering you are owned by the same company. Can’t work out a deal with yourself? That is bad business my friend!

  27. Michael's reply

    The most confusing this of all is that HBO and TWC are both Time Warner Companies!!!!

    You would have thought they would have been able to smooth this deal out ahead of TWC’s competition…

  28. Jeff Simmermon's reply

    We actually separated completely from Time Warner Inc several years ago and are our own independent company.

  29. Al's reply

    re: Roku (and hardware segregation in general HELLO ESPN3/Xbox360) How can TWC possibly defend blocking a service you are paying for based on the Hardware under your TV?

    How is this even legal (I know the Cable Lobby knows the answer to this…$$$) to tell someone they can pay $15 a month for a service, but if you have a Roku or an Xbox360 that is perfectly capable of carrying it, we will block the service just because we can.

    again…if there was a competitor in this game maybe it would force TWC to actually do something right when it comes to new service offerings. shameful. This is what you get with a legalized monopoly, High prices and crap like this.

    Jeff, come on man, I know you would love to make a statement on this…tell us what is up with TWC services and arcane hardware discrimination.

  30. Rodney D Young's reply

    Glad you got it, but certainly did not want to hear the news via such a snarky post. Stop being such a dick.

  31. bhalilov's reply

    Please include me in the beta program if one exists.

  32. Jeff Simmermon's reply

    Rodney – sorry about that. I can see how this would have come across that way, but it really wasn’t intended. I was trying to characterize the overwhelming demand for the app, and show that I’d heard most, if not all of everyone’s requests in a way that would be funny. Corporate comedy is a pretty lame genre though, and I can see how you’d feel that I was being less than respectful.

  33. Armando's reply

    Jeff, when will we get an answer regarding TWC and viewing ESPN via the XBox? Why is Time Warner limiting our access?

  34. Daymon's reply

    OK, here’s another annoying question. When can we sign in and watch it????!!!!

  35. Daymon's reply

    I just read through all of this, and just want to say I have NEVER seen such a large group of grown people acting like a bunch of big ass babies. What’s this world coming to?

    If my kids whined like you people I’d send them to their rooms for a month, and their teenagers. That should tell you something. Shame on you, and grow up.

    Now that that’s out of the way, yeah, TWV needs to get with the program for sure. You’re going to do a repeat of AOL if you don’t learn to adapt, guys. Also….. I can’t wait for HBO Go! I have an HTPC, and using cablecard, so I have no OnDemand. Really looking forward to this. Would love to beta test!

  36. Daymon's reply

    ermm…. please excuse the typos :D

  37. daisy vazquez's reply

    i will be very interested in the beta testinh, please feel free to call me

  38. Vincent's reply

    TWC is a joke of a cable company. With the introduction of Hulu Plus and Netflix I will never give them another dollar out of my pocket. No NFL Network and months of waiting for HBO Go is a joke. I hate everything about TWC and feel sorry for the clown who represents the company and blogs about it on here.

  39. Joe Legit Schmo's reply

    TiVo Premiere XL with Tuning adapter causes on demand HBO to go away, so try HBOGO via Roku…Nope. Unbelievable. I’m paying for service and can’t get all it’s flavors. Fix this now. Wildly under-serving good customers.

  40. C.'s reply

    So, the XBOX 360 HBO GO app launched, meaning I should be able to watch HBO GO on my giant flat screen instead of my laptop, accept Time Warner does not support the XBOX 360 viewing. What gives? Is this being worked on? When can we expect to be watching on HBO GO on XBOX? 12 other cable providers already support it, including RCN and Verizon. Why is HBO GO always lagging behind and so slow to adapt?!!

  41. Nolan's reply

    Hey thanks for getting us HBOGo. I mean, I know we were being obnoxious by asking the same stupid questions over and over, but in the end you’re a hero and a savior and a man of honor and a god.

    That being said, I’m going to be rude and ask you why TWC customers aren’t allowed to view HBOGo on Roku and XBox devices. Other providers allow it. Why doesn’t TWC? Do we as customers suck that much?

    Best regards and congratulations on winning,
    NB

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