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Movies Television Entertainment

HBO and Cinemax Come To Hulu, But You'll Need the New App To Watch (techcrunch.com) 67

An anonymous reader shares a report: Hulu this morning announced it's finally adding HBO as an optional add-on for subscribers, as well as HBO-owned Cinemax. The premium networks will be offered to those who subscribe to Hulu's on-demand service plus those who pay for Hulu's new live TV service, including both the ad-supported and commercial-free versions. As on most other streaming services, including HBO NOW, the HBO add-on will cost subscribers an extra $14.99 per month. Cinemax is a more affordable upgrade at $9.99 per month. The deal's timing comes just ahead of "Game of Thrones" big summer release, which will allow Hulu the opportunity to capture some number of subscribers for this premium upgrade. Many HBO viewers only pay for the streaming service while the flagship series is airing, as they want to watch it live but no longer pay for cable TV. Now, they'll be able to watch the show live or on-demand, along with past seasons of other popular HBO series, like the "The Sopranos," or catch up on newcomers like "Westworld," along with all the other shows, sports, comedy and music specials, and movies that HBO offers. Some of HBO's other notable originals include "Veep," "Last Week Tonight," "Vice," "Silicon Valley," "Big Little Lies," and "The Night Of." It's now home to kids classic "Sesame Street," too.
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HBO and Cinemax Come To Hulu, But You'll Need the New App To Watch

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  • Wow... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmazingRuss ( 555076 ) on Thursday July 06, 2017 @12:40PM (#54758037)

    ...that's an ad.

  • If it's the same price, what's the advantage to this over just using HBO Now? Are there platforms which have a Hulu app but don't have HBO Now?

    Oddly, when I bought my barebones "internet plus local channels only" package from Comcast, it came with HBO as a throw-in. I doubt I'd pay $15/month for HBO; but I do enjoy Game of Thrones and am looking forward FINALLY to the war starting!

    • If it's exactly the same price it seems to make more sense to just use the HBO app. If it were even a slight discount I'd be tempted to get Hulu which I do not currently use...

      The HBO AppleTV app works really well though, so I'll just activate my subscription and carry on.

      • The advantage maybe more for HBO, no price reduction for them but they may not have to manage so many users simultaneously. HBO may be in a position to dominate because of GoT and some oversubscription of bandwidth may be somehow managed on Hulu's side? Just a thought.
        Otherwise, I dont see how simply convenience of using HBO from Hulu's site is any better than just paying for HBO now.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Have you used the HBO Now app? It's terrible. I switched away when it became available as an Amazon add-on so I could use it from a service that reliably tracks which episodes I've watched, which episode to play next, etc.

      • I've used the HBO GO app on an AppleTV 3. For me it's worked quite well - but they obviously haven't updated it in a while, which very well may be a blessing. Nowadays it seems like any app's updates - past the initial round of bug fixes - tend to degrade the user experience rather than enhance it.

        • by unrtst ( 777550 )

          How many ways are there to access HBO content legally/officially? I know of:
          * HBO GO (or now?) app, which is available on Android, Roku, AppleTV, and probably a bunch of others such as smart TV's and such. Wrapping them all in this bullet point cause that's still within their app.
          * Through Amazon as an add-on (why the hulu part is news? I have no idea), and thus on everything it's on.
          * Through Hulu as an add-on, and thus on everything it's on (if you update the app to version ??? I don't know)

          In many ways,

          • How many ways are there to access HBO content legally/officially? I know of:
            * HBO GO (or now?) app, which is available on Android, Roku, AppleTV, and probably a bunch of others such as smart TV's and such. Wrapping them all in this bullet point cause that's still within their app.
            * Through Amazon as an add-on (why the hulu part is news? I have no idea), and thus on everything it's on.
            * Through Hulu as an add-on, and thus on everything it's on (if you update the app to version ??? I don't know)

            I don't understand why they don't just roll both use cases into one app; but HBO GO gives free access to those of us who already get HBO as part of a cable TV subscription, while HBO NOW is the standalone product people pay $15/month for.

          • Here in the UK, Sky have NowTV [wikipedia.org], a subscription streaming service which includes some amount of HBO content. Game of Thrones in particular is available sometimes - clearly their licence is on-and-off. Currently GoT is available, and back when season 6 was being shown they were made available roughly as they came out.

    • There is no advantage to using their new way of getting HBO. As a matter of fact, it's a disadvantage because it will require the new Hulu (a paid service), and it would also mean it would be lumped into your Hulu, so if you ended up deciding Hulu was no longer for you, I'm not sure how hard it might be to dislodge HBO Now from a no longer working Hulu.
  • That bug in the corner of the screen just bugged me too much. I'm probably a bit weird about stuff like that, but those things drive me to distraction. So I voted with my wallet, and canceled.

    Also, $15 extra a month for one channel? Ehh... no. Those are "add-on" prices only for someone used to cable's exorbitant $100 a month plus fees. Maybe when I don't have to think about my budget quite as much... Too bad, as I've heard good things about Westworld.

    • The thing is, HBO has more good quality original content than pretty much all the other channels combined. I agree that $15 a month would be a lot for most channels, but for HBO I'm just fine paying it.

    • by ranton ( 36917 )

      Also, $15 extra a month for one channel? Ehh... no. Those are "add-on" prices only for someone used to cable's exorbitant $100 a month plus fees. Maybe when I don't have to think about my budget quite as much... Too bad, as I've heard good things about Westworld.

      It should be noted that based on HBO's operating profit, HBO would not be profitable if they charged $10 per month (maybe marginally profitable since more people would probably sign up). I guess an argument could be made that they would still make a hefty profit at $12.99 per month, but you are really quibbling over a couple dollars there. I bet most people who complain about paying $15 per month would still be complaining if it was $12.99 per month.

      It takes a significant amount of money to produce shows a

    • by Rolgar ( 556636 )

      Check your library. My library has the previous seasons on disc.

  • Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday July 06, 2017 @12:48PM (#54758129) Homepage Journal

    I tend to base my purchasing decisions on perceived value. Netflix gives me a huge catalog of movies and TV shows from dozens of companies, including itself, for nine bucks a month. This is almost double that for programming from a single company plus movies that probably mostly overlap with what I already get from Netflix.

    The value proposition just isn't there. There are a couple of shows that I'd love to watch, but at those prices, I'll wait for them to all be cancelled, buy one month of service, binge watch them all, and cancel. If they offered their original programming by itself for three or four bucks a month, I'd be tempted to get the service on an ongoing basis and not bother. Thus, at least from my perspective, HBO is badly missing the sweet spot for subscription revenue, assuming they care about actually attracting any of the huge percentage of Internet users who already have an Amazon Prime or Netflix subscription.

    Give us a $3-ish per month option that only covers HBO original programming, and you'll attract a lot more customers. Then run upsell promos on the home page for non-original content that they could be getting if they paid for the full service.

    • For me at least, HBO has more quality programming than Netflix (or in fact, all other channels combined), so it's well worth the $15 a month. Even if it's not to you, you can always wait for GoT to finish, pay $15 for one month, binge watch it all, and then cancel.

    • by hackel ( 10452 )

      Why? Do you really not understand? Because other services have programmes people want to watch, that Netflix doesn't have. It's actually pretty simple.

      I do agree with you, I have often wished for an original-programming-only option for HBO. I don't give a lick about their films, and I imagine the cost to license those must be quite high. But I also imagine it's just like the cable providers—they don't want to let people pick and choose what channels they get, because then they wouldn't be able to

    • Netflix gives me a huge catalog of movies and TV shows

      It's not really a huge catalog. All the back-catalog stuff is gone. Now, it's a few dozen Netflix originals, some TV shows that were cancelled after a few seasons, horrible standup comedy, and a handful of terrible 90s movies.

      I've been a Netflix subscriber since the days when they'd send you DVDs in the mail. The selection was bigger back then, and more varied.

  • Tried HBO-Now (Score:4, Informative)

    by OneHundredAndTen ( 1523865 ) on Thursday July 06, 2017 @12:51PM (#54758161)
    To me, it is not worth $15/month. It is not worth a dime above $5/month. To me. I imagine many will disagree.
    • So only pay for one month in three, and binge watch during the month you have it.

      • So only pay for one month in three

        Sites are starting to catch on to this, such as through minimum subscription term commitments. That's why Amazon Prime, for example, is annual, not monthly. Even for those sites that do not require minimum subscription term commitments, you miss out on water cooler socialization opportunities during the months when you do not subscribe.

    • I would pay $50/month if there was a service that offered everything ever produced, both audio and video, on demand and without commercials.

      For that same service, but WITH commercials, I wouldn't even pay $1/month.

      Hulu will never get any of my business as things stand.
      • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

        They only have commercials for ABC, and it's only 30 seconds/episode.

      • by ranton ( 36917 )

        I would pay $50/month if there was a service that offered everything ever produced, both audio and video, on demand and without commercials.

        Based on the profitability of various content providers, it's doubtful such a service would profitable at even $100 per month. Average cable bills are only $100 per month now, don't offer the kind of service you are asking for, and have net margins that average around 10% across the industry.

        My guess is you would be looking at more like $200 per month for such a service if you didn't want quality of programming to significantly diminish over time. I would still prefer this model at that price if it existed

        • The costs are somewhat artificial and are based on insanely high licensing costs for a small portion of content which in turn is due to insanely high wages for a select few. A single package with everything would allow that insanity to be moderated as they would not be using them as ratings sledgehammers that you must buy whatever the price in order to secure both viewers and other content.
          • by ranton ( 36917 )

            which in turn is due to insanely high wages for a select few.

            While I am a believer that wealth inequality is a problem for this country, those insanely high wages paid to executives rarely have a significant impact on the price you pay for content. Time Warner Inc, for instance, paid about $83 million in total compensation in 2016 to the five executives it listed in its annual SEC statement. That is 0.3% of their total revenue. Which would mean that out of a $15 payment to Time Warner, about 4 cents is going to excessively high executive pay. Even if you double this

            • when I said select few I was not specifically aiming at the execs, the bigger problem is the excesses in the various actors and actresses pay packets across both film and TV, those pay packets make the $83 million paid to execs seem like chump change.
    • by knope ( 4837449 )
      i agree
  • Let me know when I can stream it from Amazon.

    Not installing another damn App for just one show.

  • by junk ( 33527 ) on Thursday July 06, 2017 @01:15PM (#54758381)

    I've been a happy Hulu customer for a while, until very recently. The new app is so bad, I'm suspending my account indefinitely. The catalog has gotten smaller, the UX has gotten worse and all the new features can't be accessed through the old one (I have an APK backup and stopped updating from my Android devices because it's so bad). With all the new contenders in the space, I don't imagine Hulu is a good long term investment.

  • "Now, they'll be able to watch the show live or on-demand" Really? How is that any different from what people have been able to do with HBO Now all along? Hulu seems to be adding NO value to this equation. You still have to use their proprietary, DRM-ridden application. You have to pay the same price, plus have to pay for a shitty Hulu membership as well?

    Is this is just to avoid having to use two different apps to watch programmes? That is actually an admirable goal, but implemented all wrong. There

  • I'm only paying $10/month with my cable (for however much longer that lasts...) The Game of Thrones disc sets are only around $50. Yeah I'd have to wait a year for the set to come out but...
  • So, all the old smart TVs with the old Hulu App will not be able to het the new HBO-on Hulo pack?

    Bummer. Who would have tought. If only someone had the foresight to warn would be buyers about that!

    Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Stick for the win!!!

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