HBO Could Soon Butt Heads With Netflix Over Net Neutrality

Now that CBS and HBO are joining the online video streaming game, the net neutrality debate is flaring up again.
Posted at 10:49 PM, Oct 17, 2014

Maybe Bob Dylan said it best — "The times, they are a changin'." This week, CBS and HBO, two of traditional TV's biggest players, announced new Internet video streaming services for their companies in an ever crowded video streaming market. 

Which, if you're pumped about getting your favorite shows everywhere, then rejoice

But, if you're not interested in paying a huge sum of money down the line beware. 

The Wall Street Journal warns, "A future where television viewers subscribe to each channel individually could be cheaper for young people who only watch two or three channels ... But analysts say that for households filled with people of differing tastes or fans of many channels, this future could make the average cable TV bill—which hovers at around $90—seem like a bargain."

And it could be costing HBO and CBS too. 

The companies extensions into online video is being compared, in large part, to Netflix —the online video streaming company that's fighting against the FCC over net neutrality. Netflix wants to keep the internet the way it is — open and with equal speeds. 

The FCC on the other hand is considering creating certain Internet fast lanes, meaning some companies that require more bandwidth and energy to run could pay to have their services pushed through faster. (Video via Mashable

But, despite Netflix and HBO having similar interests in online video streaming, Quartz reports the two sides couldn't be further apart on the net neutrality debate. 

The site quotes Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO's parent company Time Warner, as telling investors Wednesday: "There's going to need to be an evolution of financial support to pay for—to continue to maintain the ability of the broadband infrastructure to do digital delivered programming. ... If we’re going to move more use into that system and we’re going to have more Americans using that, it has to be supported economically in some fashion."

Which is a bold stance for Time Warner, a disappointment for net neutrality enthusiasts and could even be a big hit to Netflix. 

A writer for Quartz says if the FCC's 'fast lanes' go into effect, Netflix would have a tougher time paying than HBO, pointing out Time Warner made 30 times the profit than Netflix did last year. 

But, despite calling it a 'nightmare' for Netflix, The Verge notes that in some ways, things could be okay for the company. "A cable-free HBO Go makes cutting the cord way easier for many consumers, which could help Netflix to nab new subscribers. In the very long term, the move by HBO should be most frightening to the traditional cable companies that aren't competitive broadband internet providers."

CBS's online video streaming content will cost $5.99 a month. While a final price has not been set HBO, CNET reports it could cost about $15 a month.