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Fans rally for an HBO online-only service

Posted at 7:11 PM, Jul 12, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-12 19:14:00-04

(CNN) More and more services are making it easier than ever to cut cable and satellite services out of your expenses.

But, right now, you can’t get premium channels, such as HBO, without a subscription.

Now there’s an online campaign aimed at changing that.

Despite a plethora of ways to watch television–on a tablet, phone or computer–you still need an old fashioned cable or satellite subscription to watch certain HBO hit shows like the Game of Thrones, True Blood, or Newsroom.

That’s what led a big fan of the Game of Thrones show to create this: a website called “Take My Money, HBO.”

It’s an online petition to try to convince the cable channel to offer up internet only subscriptions to its popular HBO GO service–cable and satellite would be bypassed entirely.

The site says, “We pirate Game of Thrones, we use our friend’s HBO-GO login to watch True Bood. Please HBO, offer a standalone HBO GO streaming service and take my money!”

“All of this raises a compelling question— if the technology is available, why won’t HBO allow fans to pay separately for the service who want it? In other words, why won’t HBO take their money?”

“Technically, HBO could make this happen, they could make HBO GO a standalone service with a flip of the switch. But, right now, they have no financial motivation to do that.”

Melissa Grego is executive editor for broadcasting and cable. She says channels like HBO don’t have the infrastructure in place to offer and market a standalone internet service.

But the bigger problem– the partnerships with cable and satellite companies who heavily promote and reap in substantial profits for the channel.

Those relationships, she says, are too important to undermine.

“The minute they start offering HBO as a standalone product without the need of a cable subscription, you potentially get into trouble with the Comcasts and the Time-Warner Cables of the world.”

HBO is owned by CNN’s parent company Time-Warner. A channel spokesman told us they’re greatly flattered by the attention, for now, however, there’s no economic upside to offering a standalone HBO GO service.

Now that people have tons of different ways of viewing content, the notion of ala carte channels is picking up steam.

The problem though is that no one has been able to figure out the business model.

“If you look at a company like Apple with all the juice in the world, they still haven’t been able to crack the code and get everything out of the vaults in Hollywood and make it available on reasonably priced monthly pass $20, $25 bucks a month. Click and watch everything you want. That would completely change the industry.”

The question is whether those changes would reduce earnings for Hollywood.

Until it’s clear that cutting the cord wouldn’t hurt their bottom line, campaigns like this– may get attention, but will probably go nowhere.