With Apple, HBO Could Win Cable's "Game of Thrones"

Several services are already offering synchronized viewing across devices. Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX  ) , YouTube, and now Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) all offer bookmarking -- start a show on one device, pick up where you left off on another. HBO is a rare exception because of its cable ties.

It doesn't have to be this way. In January, Bloomberg reported that HBO and Apple were working on adding the HBO GO iOS app to Apple TV, which would allow for bookmarking and seriously challenge Netflix, says Tim Beyers of Motley Fool Rule Breakers and Motley Fool Supernova in the following interview with The Motley Fool's Erin Miller.

This sort of arrangement is central to Apple's TV strategy: enable the widest arrangement of content anywhere via iTunes and aggregated services, and then sell a ton of devices to users who want access. Tim says to expect it to pay off.

Please watch this short video to get his full take, and then leave a comment to let us know whether you'd buy, sell, or short Apple stock now and why.

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Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (2)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2013, at 1:16 PM, iamsamsamiam2 wrote:

    It really seems that people are ignoring the fact that people don't LIKE the cable industry.

    By that I mean certain people don't like the cable companies like they don't like certain people. There is a segment of people that refuse to do business with cable companies and/or are looking for any excuse not to pay a cable bill.

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2013, at 3:29 PM, LynxSS77 wrote:

    @iamsam Count me as one of them. I refuse to do business with any cable company. For the past 8 years I've got my TV over the air and through streaming I haven't missed anything with the exception of HBO.

    It really irks me that HBO refuses to stream their shows without a cable subscription. I don't have cable and I don't want it! Instead I have to wait a whole year for the DVD sets to come out before they are available to watch.

    I've tried to do cable in the past but try telling them that you only watch a handful of channels and they'll tell you that those are only available on several different packages and don't come together. Sooner or later the cable companies are going to have to start doing a la carte or more and more people are going to get fed up with their extortionist practices and dump them all together.

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2013, at 3:40 PM, Watcher760 wrote:

    An interesting little blurb here but "seriously challenging Netflix" by allowing bookmarking? That seems like a bit....err OK...a HUGE stretch to get from one to the other. I'd sure like to see ANY data that would back up that thought.

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2013, at 3:43 PM, Watcher760 wrote:

    @LynxSS77 The problem is that HBO currently receives so many advantages from being Cable Only that they don't WANT to have a separate streaming service available.

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2013, at 3:53 PM, Futzhead wrote:

    Why doesn't Apple just buy Time Warner with their cash hoard, and sell a truly integrated TV system.

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2013, at 5:46 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @Watcher760,

    >>An interesting little blurb here but "seriously challenging Netflix" by allowing bookmarking? That seems like a bit....err OK...a HUGE stretch to get from one to the other. I'd sure like to see ANY data that would back up that thought.

    Yes, good question. I inserted that language because it reflects how Reed Hastings describes HBO in his manifesto on the future of Netflix, entitled "The Long View."

    Here are the relevant excerpts:

    "The network that we think likely to be our biggest long-term competitor-for-content is HBO.

    They recently won, for example, long-term exclusive domestic movie output deals with Universal and Fox. They bid against us on many Original projects. They are not currently a bidder against us for prior-season television from other networks. They have global reach and strengthening technology capacity."

    "While we are passing HBO in domestic members in 2013, it will be several years before we are peers with them in terms of Original programming, Emmy awards, and international members. It wouldn’t be surprising to us if HBO does their best work and achieves their highest growth over the next decade, spurred on by the Netflix competition and the Internet TV opportunity."

    And here's a link to download the document directly:

    http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/NFLX/1817782673x0x656...

    FWIW and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

  • Report this Comment On April 26, 2013, at 5:50 PM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @Futzhead,

    >>Why doesn't Apple just buy Time Warner with their cash hoard, and sell a truly integrated TV system.

    Doing so would present multiple problems.

    First off, buying Time Warner would make Apple a content creator *and* distributor, putting it in conflict with content creators with whom it has done business. Think of NBCUniversal, CBS, AMC, etc.

    Second, far as I know, Time Warner doesn't have patents or technology for a "truly integrated TV system." Maybe there's something I haven't read?

    Thanks for the comment and Foolish best,

    Tim

    --

    TMFMileHigh in CAPS and on the boards

    @milehighfool on Twitter

    http://about.me/timbeyers

    http://timbeyers.me

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