HBO slowly pushes forward with plans to kill cable with standalone channel subscriptions

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It’s clear that ordering cable channels individually, a la carte, is coming… and when it comes, it will be over the internet, not via cable or satellite. This is the inevitable future, and HBO is leading the way.

Well, HBO is at least TALKING about leading the way.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes “seemed to imply there may come a time when cord-cutting customers will able to buy a subscription to HBO Go the same way they buy a Netflix membership, without having to pay for TV channels or a cable modem at the same time,” says The Hollywood Reporter.

(Time Warner owns HBO. Bewkes’s comments came in a conference call with investors.)

The only actual action taken by HBO or Time Warner so far is to offer a small number of its internet customers a package deal where they pay extra for broadband and get HBO and a handful of other channels in return. That’s not quite as good as a standalone HBO Go subscription to anybody with internet access, but it’s a good step in the right direction.

Of course, all of this could be a ploy to get cable and satellite providers to shell out bigger bucks to keep HBO from going direct-to-consumer.

“We would want to move in such a way that continues to give our partners the ability to sell their product,” Keith Cocozza, an HBO spokesman, told HuffPost. “We’re just not ready yet.”

Comcast, DirecTV, and the rest have to see the writing on the wall, so they’re going throw as much money as possible at delaying the inevitable. But inevitable it remains. At some point, Time Warner will start funneling its other cable channels’ original content into HBO Go and create a legitimate standalone streaming service.

And that’s likely to be the tipping point. Soon thereafter, the majority of Americans will be paying about $10 a month each for HBO, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime… and $0 to cable and satellite providers.

And it can’t come soon enough.

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