In a system of established cable and television business models with restrictive syndication, it seems the only way to push the evolution of video forward is to approach distribution in as many angles and in as many territories as possible. HBO is finally embarking on this frontier with their recent announcement of HBO Nordic AB, a service that will provide HBO content direct to consumers for the first time in Europe. This move is a symbol of changing audience expectations and the very real opportunities that exist for video producers and publishers if they will only tap in.
HBO finalized its sale of HBOlab (an experimental outlet for web-only video) to Break.com this week for an undisclosed amount. (NewTeeVee) It's the latest sign the cable network is still trying to find a comfortable seat in the digital arena. But has the music already stopped? Is there a seat left?
HBOlab seemed like an awkward project from the start. According to NewTeeVee, HBOlab "was hampered by fear that original web content would dilute the HBO brand." Then why do it? Maybe HBO (which is owned by Time Warner) felt it had to do something, anything, to find an online identity as digital audiences expand.
Thus far, it's been baby steps, no steps and late steps for HBO online. Industry heavyweight Jim Moloshok (AOL, Yahoo, Warner Bros) was brought in to develop a broadband strategy in 2005, but HBO shelved the plan (and eventually, the group Moloshok led).
More recently, HBO bought a small stake in FunnyOrDie, but it's only used the site for the season premier and some free clips from "Flight of the Conchords." The network did put an episode of "In Treatment" on YouTube. But finding any HBO streaming video these days, even at the network's home page, is tough.
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