The HBO problem, as it is not known, dictates that it is safer to keep content locked away on cable networks than to sell it everywhere immediately. It’s a simple formula - by controlling the market of their (very good) content, they can command lucrative contracts with cable companies who are desperate to not be ‘left behind’. This is about to change as HBO tighten their rights windows and push HBO Go internationally.
This means that cable-cutters are left out in the cold. Only subscribers of (often expensive) services that contain HBO can legally watch an HBO show at time of broadcast, so others have 2 choices - pirate them, or wait. And as we know, no-one can wait for Game of Thrones.
HBO are seeing the light. HBO’s chief executive Richard Plepler has suggested that HBO might allow non-cable subscribers access to HBO Go, it’s highy praised on demand service. Pleper suggests that if they can “make the math work”, it is a real possibility that people could be paying $10-$15 a month for a straight-up-yessiree HBO on demand service.
Over in the UK, the question is whether Sky’s Atlantic deal would ever allow this to see the light of day. But, it’s progress.