HBO Exec Says There’s Maybe Kinda Some Hope For Standalone Broadband Offering

Ugh, paying for cable just to see one show?

Ugh, paying for cable just to see one show?

For those TV viewers who perhaps only want cable service when their favorite shows are on, say Game of Thrones or if you’re struggling with the meaning of city life in your mid-20s, Girls, it kind of stinks to buy an entire cable package. So if HBO does end up cutting the cord and offering a standalone broadband service, plenty of customers will have reason to celebrate.

But that is one big “if,” as the Wall Street Journal notes, and is based off a few comments by HBO’s fresh new chief executive Richard Pepler. Last night onstage at a New Republic event, Plepler responded to an audience member’s question about the matter, as she said she wants to watch Girls legally but neither she nor many of her pals have pay-TV subscriptions.

She self-identified as one of the “Lena Dunham, Millenial generations,” which for those not in the know, means she probably doesn’t make a lot of money but ekes out a life in New York City anyway while wearing patterned onesies and working in coffee shops.

“We are going to get you a little raise where you work so that you can afford the product,” Plepler replied, which is just exactly the kind of joke someone probably making under $30,000 a year wants to hear from a fatcat executive.

Anyway, he said it’s just because HBO doesn’t want to mess up its relationship with cable and satellite operators, which is why he can’t promise the channel’s content will be delivered directly to consumers soon. But, but maybe that might change if the company wants to snag additional dollars.

“We recognize that there’s a piece of the audience out there that, if they could get HBO without going through a pay package, we would get it,” he added.

While still maintaining that the company’s job is to make it so you just gotta pay for cable, he also mentioned that he’s all about talking about such things in “an environment that challenges the status quo.”

“Every day there are people now thinking about what are the variations on the theme,” he said. “How can we work with our partners to do that? Is there a broadband-only play, with HBO Go, with our partners, that might be appealing?”

Basically he can’t tick off the distributors that bring TV service into the home right now because that would mean putting billions of dollars on the line. But at least he sees that the current model isn’t the best for everyone, and if there’s a way to still deliver dollars to distributors while bringing legal content to consumers, things could get interesting.

Fingers crossed the industry makes this happen because my parents are getting sick of me watching entire seasons of The Walking Dead in the two days I visit, so a nice little Internet AMC subscription would be appreciated.

Could Cord Cutters (and Lena Dunham Fans) One Day Get a Crack at HBO? [Wall Street Journal]

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