HBO is joining the long list of media companies entering the Internet video download space. The service will be branded HBO Broadband, and will test launch in Green Bay, WI. The service will not be direct marketed to subscribers. Rather, it will be marketed through cable/IPTV operators, as a part of an existing programing subscription or for additional fees. This approach is somewhat similar to how ESPN markets ESPN 360. HBO Broadband is only for PC viewing, at least initially, and an application is downloaded to the subscriber’s hard drive to control the viewing experience.
We can expect to see numerous additional announcements of video download strategies in 2008. Everyone is trying to get their “feet wet” with this application and figure out where it fits on the video consumption continuum. The competitive threats aren’t clear yet, but over the next couple years, consumers will have a variety of options in how they consume video and media. As things begin to shake out, we will begin to see the impact of these choices on the traditional pay television subscription model, and how triple play providers need to adapt.