HBO Shows Too Good For Streaming On Netflix

Were you late to the True Blood game and hoping to catch up by streaming old seasons on Netflix? If so, you’ve got a long wait ahead of you since HBO’s Co-President has poo-pooed the idea of bringing the network’s catalog of shows and movies to Netflix’s Watch Instantly library.

“There is value in exclusivity,” said HBO biggie Eric Kessler, who added that consumers “are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content.”

Netflix has already inked deals for content with Disney, Sony Pictures, Starz, Relativity Media and Epix, among others.

“We would love to do a deal as well with HBO,” said a rep for Netflix. “Compete with us or collaborate with us, but we would much rather work with them.”

Instead of make a deal with Netflix, HBO is continuing to focus on its recently launched HBO Go online service, which is currently available to all HBO subscribers on Comcast and Verizon Fios. Kessler says all major cable systems will be included in the HBO Go deal within 6 months.

Netflix Lust for `True Blood’ Is Unrequited as HBO Blocks Path [Bloomberg]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cameraman says:

    Let’s see. Does this make me regret my decision to cancel cable entirely and rely only on my Roku?


    No. No, it does not. Sorry, HBO.

    • lukesdad says:

      Same here. These guys just don’t (or don’t want) to see that their old business model isn’t just going to keep working forever. The Netflix model is the way things are going and “HBO Go,” which still requires that you have cable and an HBO subscription, demonstrates that they just don’t get it.

  2. pop top says:

    You know, I was actually looking to put True Blood on my Instant queue last week. I don’t mind getting movies in the mail, but I’d prefer to have TV series on Instant because it’s so much easier. I don’t think I’d have a problem with getting the DVDs in the mail if it wasn’t a common practice of American companies to put three or four episodes on one disc.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I feel the same way. I’ve been trying to convinve the old lady to increase the number of discs we can get on Netflix just because I hate only getting 4 episodes at a time.

      • pop top says:

        Exactly. I usually burn through a season in a few days or so (depending on the number of episodes). It’s wonderful not dealing with commercials.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        When we dumped cable, we bumped our Netflix plan to 5 DVD’s at a time. Between our Roku box and the DVDs, it’s plenty enough to keep us occupied and a way better value than cable. I just find it odd that it’s not profitable to stream True Blood but shows like Dexter and Weeds are available via instant watch.

        With cable, we never got premium channels so we really had no idea how good some of the series were. We’ve become addicted to Dexter, Weeds, True Blood, Deadwood, etc. We also get our fix syndicated stuff like Family Guy, The Office, the IT Crowd, and King of the Hill via streaming.

    • badachie says:

      I just recently got the 1st disc of season 1 of True Blood. And there are two episodes of the first disc.

    • nybiker says:

      I am not sure if you want more or less content per DVD? Assuming True Blood is a ’60-minute’ show, having 2 episodes means 2 hours of content on a disc. 3 hours would be possible too. Putting 4 might be a problem, especially if there’s going to be any bonus stuff.

      Personally, I still had HBO when True Blood started. I gave them about 15 minutes of the first episode to make me want to watch. They failed. I lasted watched “Rome”. I no longer have any satellite account, so I enjoy my Netflix dvds and the occasional streaming movie.

  3. PunditGuy says:

    I understand HBO’s decision, but I wonder if it’s just a matter of timing at this point. If people continue to cut cable TV, there will obviously be fewer HBO subscribers. HBO might consider an online-only play, or succumb to Netflix. In any event, the status quo’s days are numbered.

    • craptastico says:

      i bet HBO makes a lot of money off of their DVD sales, and they probably realize most people wouldn’t buy them if they could just rent them from Netflix for a few days

      • craptastico says:

        never mind. i misread. i didn’t realize they still offer them for regular renting, just not instant streaming

    • c!tizen says:

      I cancelled all of my premium movie channels as none of them ever had anything good on. This includes HBO, which was one of the most expensive, yet lacked the most content. They played the same 6 movies over and over and over and over again.

      I don’t know if it’s companies like HBO or if it’s the movie industry, but TV sucks now.

      P.S. I get the good shows like Californication and Weeds from Netflix. I can’t justify paying for Showtime just for these shows.

      • jurupa says:

        And yet you are indirectly if you pay for Netflix.

        • c!tizen says:

          I’ll take the $9.00 a month hit and be able to watch thousands of movies over the $10.00 a month hit that only allows me to watch a handful of movies and only the last season of certain shows.

    • pzer0 says:

      If they were smart they would try to partner with Netflix or Hulu, perhaps as an add-on. Think about it, pay for your Netflix / Hulu account, plus an additional $5 per month for HBO? I’d sign up for that. As it is, I’m torrenting True Blood every time an episode comes out. I refuse to pay for cable and then HBO on top of that just to watch one show (it’s good, but not that good).

      I think Netflix would be wise to start trying to form partnerships along those lines… There are already a ton of people without cable, and the fact that you can stream using Netflix on all the major gaming consoles means they have a pretty large potential footprint.

  4. The Marionette says:

    so hbo THEIR shows to be on netflix? I honestly don’t see anything wrong with that.

  5. SerenityDan says:

    But but…. They only keep the most recent episodes of shows available to watch on HBO Go so what the hell is Eric Kessler talking about? They seem to be competing with Hulu not doing anything near what Netflix is doing. “The value is in exclusivity”, exclusive to what? Your site isn’t streaming them!

    • Remmy75 says:

      Exclusive to people having to buy them on DVD if they want to catch up to the current season. Once again, companies holding onto the past glory days when people would spend tons of money buying DVDs every week.

      Some day they will learn to embrace new things and profit from it.

    • Southern says:

      HBO doesn’t stream them on their site, they stream them through the cable companies, like Comast. If you subscribe to HBO, you can go into Comcasts “On Demand” channel and stream old episodes.. I haven’t checked myself, but my daughter watches the show and I think they have all them from Season 3 available in the On Demand channel at the moment.

      • SerenityDan says:

        If you go to HBO Go is askes you to enter which provider you have, if you have FiOs you can watch it on HBO’s site, if you have Comcast it sends you over to Comcast’s site, in both cases they don’t have alot of episodes of shows, True blood specificaly only lets you stream the last 19 of the 33 or 34 episodes so far aired. So they are letting you stream stuff but only when the show is gearing up for the new season.

      • SerenityDan says:

        Also, kind of a moot point that you can go to the OnDemand channel since this is about streaming, which many people do an the computer.

  6. tbax929 says:

    I’m sure True Blood is very good; I’ve never seen it (even though I get HBO for free, but only watch Real Time and Curb Your Enthusiasm on it). When it comes to shows on premium channels, I think Showtime has better original shows than HBO. I love Dexter, Nurse Jackie, Weeds, and US of Tara. I’m sure The Big C will also be good.

  7. Rask says:

    Make previous seasons of shows available on on Netflix and delay the new stuff for a year.

    Offer the past seasons on Netflix a week or two before the new season starts to build buzz and get new viewers that might not even have HBO or never entertained getting it a reason to get the subscription.

    It’s not that freaking hard to have your cake and eat it too.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      I liked how the most recent season of Legend of the Seeker played out on Netflix. Previous seasons available to catch up on, current season was debuted weekly AFTER the episode aired online.

      I enjoyed that very much.

  8. cojo says:

    They’re right. There is value in exclusivity. That’s why I’m considering ordering Showtime – I got hooked on Dexter when I idly selected it from the “Watch Instantly” queue on Netflix, and the new seasons are available only by subscribing (unless I want to wait a year). I don’t have any point of reference for how the HBO shows are, and I don’t have an interest in subscribing just to find out. 95% of the time I select things from instant queue so I don’t have to wait for things in the mail.

    How are you supposed to snag more customers when you make non-subscribers LESS likely to preview your shows, HBO?

    • Chinchillazilla says:

      Yup, that’s how I found Dexter, too.

    • Goatweed says:

      95% of HBO’s offerings are already available on Netflix [movies] or VOD, so their argument re : exclusivity really comes to be pay a HUGE premium for a handful of shows.

      I love me some Curb but I can’t see paying $20/month (Fios) to watch 13 episodes when I can easily get HD copies of them within hours of broadcast. Or I can just be patient and purchase the DVD/BR season sets when they appear 6 months later.

      If people feel it is worth paying for then more power to them, but seeing as how Netflix is more or less being bundled with every conceivable electronic gadget for the home these days, it would be silly for HBO or anyone else to consider “exclusivity” an asset as opposed to controlled exposure.

    • skylar.sutton says:

      Very well said and VERY true. There is serious value in giving away stale premium content (e.g. a season or two back) for very low cost (e.g. whatever Netflix pays them) as it has the potential to generate lots of new subscriptions to the fresh premium content.

  9. Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

    HBO’s content is not even close to being good enough for me to subscribe to their service. ‘Dexter’ is one of the best shows I’ve seen and not even that would be enough to lure me in.

    I agree with PunditGuy — the days of cable subscriptions are definitely numbered. I see an a la cart system of downloadable content taking over completely in the coming years. This will be good as it will kill off a lot of the bullshit filler and fourth-rate crap that’s being pushed now.

    • Warren - aka The Piddler on the Roof says:

      Heh. ‘Dexter’ is on Showtime. Oops. Goes to show you how little I know about networks and cable and stuff. Hell, I still have an analog TV (with no converter box thingy) and get all my Netflix in the mail.

  10. ElizabethD says:

    Poo ≠ pooh. Pooh-poohed pls.

    • Andy S. says:

      “You know, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being in the army, it’s never ignore a pooh-pooh. I knew a major, he got pooh-poohed. Made the mistake of ignoring the pooh-pooh; he pooh-poohed it! Fatal error, because it turned out all along that the soldier who pooh-poohed him had been pooh-poohing a lot of other officers, who pooh-poohed their pooh-poohs. In the end, we had to disband the regiment — morale totally destroyed — by pooh-pooh.”

  11. Andy S. says:

    Poor decision on HBO’s part. I get what they’re trying to do, but I don’t think it’s going to work.

    To Netflix subscribers, it appears that the only thing that HBO has going for it are their original series, and those series’ alone are hardly worth the monthly cost of HBO. And it is far, far too easy to just pull those original series’ down from BitTorrent. Simply put, people will watch HBO’s original content regardless of whether they have an easy legal means of doing so.

    If HBO were to collaborate with Netflix, at least they’d be getting my money.

  12. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I’ll just netflix the dvds then instead of watching on instant play.

  13. Heresy Of Truth says:

    I don’t bittorrent shows much at all anymore. That’s because generally what I want to watch is on either Hulu or Netflix. I have a larger subscription to Netflix, and still spend a lot of time watching streaming. I don’t use cable at all, and when my contract is up, I’m canceling.

    I haven’t watched any of the HBO series, because to do so, and catch up, I’d have to bittorrent some of them. Meh. It’s just not worth the effort these days because there are other things to watch.

  14. dkev says:

    IMHO, Starz’s has awesome series’s. Spartacus and Pillars of the Earth are amazing. I know HBO puts out top notch stuff as well, but that’s what torrents are for. :)

  15. Riroon13 says:

    Why is HBO making it so difficult for me to get my Treme fix?

    In a semi-related matter, every day I love my Netflix more and more. Yesterday, I had to call them about an issue. When I went to look up their number through their website, it not only coughed up the #, but told me how long the wait time would be.

    My call was answered by a LIVE PERSON (not a phone tree) that SPOKE CLEAR ENGLISH. And God was this person friendly.

    Does any other company do this anymore? No phone trees? English-as-a-first -language reps?

    • pop top says:

      Oh wow, no foreigners takin’ our jerbs? Stupendous!

      • Conformist138 says:

        Where did you get that from? I got what he was saying. I don’t care if it’s their FIRST language, but by god, it needs to be one of them. Too many overseas CSRs know the English of the script. The second you deter from their expected flow, they can’t help at all.

      • pz says:

        Nobody cares about foreigners taking CSR jobs. They care about non-English speaking foreigners taking jobs that require English as a job skill.

  16. sliverworm says:

    There are always alternative methods to watching the show, might not be instant, but it’s still cheaper than paying for HBO on top of a monthly cable bill.

  17. HogwartsProfessor says:

    No way. Sorry, HBO. I understand their desire to have people pay for content – it is a pay channel, after all – but it seems like now all they want is for viewers to fork it over even if they don’t know whether the thing is any good or not.

    I quit with them a long time ago when they started interrupting the credits of movies to make voice-over announcements on what was coming up next, followed by a promo on what was coming up next. Paying for uninterrupted movies means UNINTERRUPTED. That includes the credits, which often have music or songs playing over them that I want to hear.

  18. dbeahn says:

    I’m willing to not watch True Blood at all, since I don’t have a fast, easy way to catch up. I WAS able to stream Weeds, OTOH, and decided Showtime might be worthwhile.

    HBO just exclusivitied me into being a Showtime subscriber rather than an HBO subscriber. Way to go HBO!

  19. ericfate says:

    While I like the idea of HBO Go online, it isn’t available to me and I don’t intend to do business with either of the companies who can make it available to me. EVER. I do, however, like Netflix and have no problem doing business with them.

    It’s not like a simple web search won’t turn up 90+ places to view the new episode for free less than 24 hours after broadcast. How does a deal like this in any way improve their revenue stream?

  20. jason in boston says:

    Remember HBO…you are also competing with the PirateBay. Start making it dead simple for me to consume your content at a fair price and we’ll talk.

  21. intensefroid says:

    From when I used to work at cable companies a long time ago now, two things I kept hearing interest in were video on demand, and a la carte channels. Later I heard the resistance to providing individual channels or shows is because by subscribing to “packages” of channels, the less widely viewed channels were being subsidized in effect by more popular channels. Largely whatever you hear from a cable company or premium content provider like HBO is going to be bullshit anyway, and like others have said, this model is going to fail. Its only a matter of time.
    There are tons of movies out there that you don’t need HBO to get, and while it’s hard to beat shows like Deadwood, The Wire, Sopranos, or Mad Men and Dexter, seasons of those shows come around eventually.
    Take those shows away and you’re left with 80%+ crap.
    HBO and cable are dead. Long live Roku and Netflix!

  22. jehurey says:

    I assume that its only a matter of time until Netflix starts raising the cost of its base Instant streaming service.

    • Mobius says:

      If it means more instantly available content, I’m all for paying more. They could just charge the same and remove the DVD component. I don’t watch the DVDs I get anyway. They just sit while I watch streaming.

    • Lisse24 says:

      I’d pay it. It still wouldn’t be anywhere near the 50 – 100 bucks a month for cable.
      I’d also pay HBO if they put their video up to stream for people without having to get a cable subscription.
      I will be watching Game of Thrones within 24 hours of the episode being on TV, the only question is…does HBO want my money or not?
      ‘Cause I’ll gladly give my money to HBO to subsidize that show, but I’m not giving it to Comcast.

      • NatalieErin says:

        I’d pay a premium for Netflix if it included HBO. I love the Wire, but I really don’t want to pay $250 for the box set.

  23. d0x360 says:

    I cant argue with HBO that the value is the exclusives. Howard Stern said the same thing when he joined Sirius and had normal radio stations offer him big bucks to edit and broadcast his sirius show over the air. He told them people wont join sirius if they can get it free somewhere else.

    What HBO should do is put shows up on Netflix a couple months after the dvd versions come out. That way the seasons are over on the actual channel and the people who wanted to buy the dvds already have. Its quite possible they would sell more dvds this way. Ive watched quite a few shows on netflix and then decided to buy the box sets because of it. I wouldnt have done that without seeing them via the streaming.

  24. backinpgh says:

    I’m holding out for HBO. I was paying $40 for cable but now I gave in and have to pay $115 for cable and internet so I can get HBO. But I’m not going to be able to afford this forever.

    HBO should consider the fact that their shows are readily available for free through Bittorrent. Then maybe they’ll reconsider streaming on Netflix.

    Hell, I’d even pay EXTRA to stream HBO over Netflix. It’s the rest of the damn cable package I don’t want.

  25. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Netflix doesn’t have deals with Disney and Sony. It has a deal with Starz, which has a deal with Disney and Sony.

  26. LACubsFan says:

    I agree with HBO.
    If you can get netflix for 8 bucks a month and instantly watch their shows, why would you sign up for HBO for 15 bucks a month?

  27. LACubsFan says:

    I agree with HBO.
    If you can get netflix for 8 bucks a month and instantly watch their shows, why would you sign up for HBO for 15 bucks a month?

    HBO gets nominated for the most Emmy’s every year for a reason, their shows and miniseries kick ass!

    Larry Sanders Show… Sopranos… OZ…. Curb your enthusiasm… Deadwood…. The Wire… Entourage… Bored to death…. Treme… Extras… flight of the conchords…. Jeez did I miss any??

  28. Corinthos says:

    If only keep HBO for True Blood each year when its season ends so does my subscription. Usually that night I call and cancel it and then get showtime so I can start watching dexter. If they made a deal where I could stream HBO prducts on Roku or Netflix if I kept the subscription then I’d keep it year round.

  29. LADude says:

    Can’t wait until some blind mega corp wakes up and starts selling a la carte streaming. I will gladly pay HBO, Starz, etc. $6 to $10 a month for HD, 5.1 streams of their shows/movies that I can stream through a simple HTPC on to my tv!

    Why not cut out the useless middle men (cable/sat., Netflix) and just let me pay you, HBO?

    Don’t you want my money?

  30. smo0 says:

    “There is value in exclusivity,” said HBO biggie Eric Kessler, who added that consumers “are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content.”

    I pay for netflix, I watch everything available to me…

    HBO… you get pirated… sorry… you’re not exclusive…
    Latest episodes are available within minutes after the show airs… so… they can eat a dick.

  31. Puddy Tat says:

    Eric Kessler is wanting to have his own streaming service – jackass!