The war of words between HBO and Netflix may have just escalated into an actual slap-fight, with HBO announcing that it will no longer be selling DVDs of its shows to the rent-by-mail company.
Of course, this doesn’t stop Netflix from buying HBO DVDs. It would just have to buy them through a third party. Depending on their deal with the broadcaster, this could mean a significant uptick in the cost of the HBO discs to Netflix. But given the shrinking market for DVD-only customers and Netflix’s growing focus on streaming content, it wouldn’t be a shock to see HBO titles gradually disappear.
HBO has repeatedly stated that it has no intention of ever letting Netflix stream the cable channel’s content to customers. So this move is another sign that the network thinks even less of those long red envelopes.
On the wishful-thinking side, we’re hoping that this bit of bridge-burning by HBO is a sign that the cable company is moving toward a version of its HBO GO streaming service that is not reliant on being a subscriber to the channel through your cable provider. It’s a move that many insiders have predicted will happen in the not-that-distant future, and one that could permanently change the pay-TV landscape.