We've heard for quite some time that Hulu
was considering pay-for-content subscription models, which is quite different from how things are today. Currently, users are able to watch anything on Hulu (which includes a vast majority of today's most popular television shows) for free so long as they watch advertisements. It certainly generates money for the company (and NBC Universal), but we're sure that content executives are always looking for more.
HBO might just have their answer. Home Box Office
has always been a pay channel, and it has never been cheap. Cable and satellite customers have always had to pay a specific fee each month for access to HBO's content, but now that fee may sting a bit less. HBO Go has just launched on Verizon's FiOS service, which is a fiber-based service that delivers phone, television and Internet services. It's not widespread, but for those in FiOS areas, this is a huge boon.
Put simply, HBO Go allows subscribers to watch HBO content on their computer. It's just like Hulu, but it's only for HBO's content. It's also more fully features, and the user interface is more robust. The content portal will offer over 600 hours of HBO shows, which is 4x what's available on HBO On Demand. Comcast users will also be getting the service, and we're guessing that Time Warner Cable users and other cable users will get it if everything pans out after the initial launch. Unfortunately, HBO Go requires Flash, so the iPad will not be able to view it unless support is granted or HBO switches to another protocol.
The good news is that HBO is already planning to make HBO Go compatible with select smartphones, and this snippet below is probably the most exciting. "iTunes users can pay to download episodes of some HBO shows without having to be cable subscribers. HBO also is working on a download option that would let people watch shows when they do not have Web access, such as on a plane trip."