Could HBO Have Been Today’s Netflix?

It’s funny how a future oversight can cost you. The big media dinosaur, HBO, had the opportunity to venture into streamlining services in 2005 and fact, some HBO leaders were pushing for the move. The deal was for HBO to utilize the internet to sell subscriptions directly to viewers rather than selling at wholesale prices to major cable TV retailers. But did they do this?

In 2006, HBO was faced with yet another crucial opportunity that would have changed the history of media. Some of HBO’s executives vouched for the move to purchase Netflix. This was before Netflix became a big fat success in the streamlining business. At the time, Netflix was a DVD rent-by-mail enterprise worth $ 1 billion.

But because HBO overlooked the opportunity in 2006, it is now struggling to sell streaming services similar Netflix and is facing stiff competition from not only Netflix but other streaming giants like Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and Peacock.

As we feel for HBO, let’s not overweight the alternative consequences of its past decisions. Even if HBO and its parent company, Time Warner had agreed to sell their subscriptions directly to consumers, there is no guarantee that it would have been successful because broadband internet wasn’t freely accessible at the time. Besides, HBO’s distributor would have fought hard to ensure it wouldn’t be replaced.

Secondly, purchasing Netflix wouldn’t have assured that HBO would be in Netflix’s big shoes right now.

The CEO of Time Warner, Jeff Bewkes, stated that they would have to merge with a tech giant because failing to do so would force Time Warner to sell. He even discussed merging the company with Apple, but the latter wasn’t up for the idea. In his opinion, digital giants like Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook and Netflix are going to weed out old media companies like HBO in the long ter

Ah! Decisions decisions. Let’s see what the long haul has in store for Netflix.

Written by Dave Cunningham

Raised and born in West London. Dave is currently studying BA in Psychology at CUNY Hunter College. Netflix favourites: You, Stranger Things, Ozark & Virgin River.

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