When introduced to America in the late 1940s, the television was predicted to be a brief fad that wouldn’t last more than a few years. Now in 2015, the world of television has become a staple of pop culture and modern day media distribution. Through decades of technological development and changes in consumer preferences, the television industry has managed to adjust and remain relevant. While premium channels like HBO (Home Box Office) and Showtime once rattled the nerves of top broadcast networks, the advent of digital streaming services like Netflix have become the latest innovation to pressure change in the industry.
The current changes to the television industry bring to light some of the shortcomings of the current model. Streaming services do not require the use of cable operators to distribute their content allowing consumers fewer barriers to access. In contrast, HBO has the power to choose which distributors it interacts with and therefore which audiences are left with or without access. Airwave usage is often considered a public commons, as evidenced by radio. Although distributed through similar methods as radio, television has historically been treated differently. HBO’s terms of distribution regulate the commons, and in doing so defies the rationality set by Kantian logic. The network’s reputation as a cutting edge innovator and industry leader makes it all the more surprising that HBO would impede on the public’s the right to content. The potential to understand the rationality behind HBO’s practices of distribution lies in thinking of the commons in conjunction with Kantian theories of ethics. Continue reading For the Common Good: An Analysis of HBO’s Manipulation of the Commons
Last week, I took a close look at HBO. Although I did ask the question of responsibility over content, I find HBO’s strategies in the quickly changing world of television to be much more interesting subjects of discussion. With the most recent changes to the world of television, HBO has partnered with Apple to launch its own streaming service called HBO NOW. The goal is to allow those without cable services to access HBO’s content, but the affects on Time Warner’s other networks remains to be seen, as it is unknown how many consumers will drop their cable subscriptions to make a complete shift to streaming. But is HBO NOW only about competing with streaming services or is it another way to incentivize consumers to buy content over piracy?
Continue reading Robin Hood vs. Network TV: Piracy and Television
As graduation looms ever closer, I have been searching through various networks, production companies, and cable providers in an attempt to remedy my currently unemployed status. HBO has most definitely been one such network. Over the years, I’ve known high school acquaintances who have gone on to intern at HBO and enjoyed the experience immensely (as noted by never ending Facebook updates and tweets). Even looking further into employee reviews of working a HBO, the company seems to be a fun and creative work place with a level of prestige in the entertainment world.
As of 2011, Business Insider ranked HBO as the seventh best media company to work for citing that “HBO presents new and exciting challenges for its employees to complete.” More recently, HBO received the seventh place honor for The Most Innovative Company of 2015, according to Fast Company. One of the reasons they have received such recognition is their current project titled HBO NOW, which allows consumers to pay to stream HBO content without having a traditional cable package. The move to reach the enlarging streaming consumer base, makes HBO one of the first television companies to keep up with the digital Jones’s, Netflix and Amazon.
Continue reading It’s HBO. So Original.
The widely popular HBO show Game of Thrones takes place in the mythical land of Westeroes, where dragons, magic and war rage. The shows graphic scenes and constant contrast between “right” and “wrong” has hooked viewers. Based on the novel series A Song of Fire and Ice by George R. R. Martin, the shows complicated power-politics surround the dominant, wealthy families and myriad of characters that come and go with each episode. Martin and HBO writers excel at creating complex, grey characters that challenge the classic notion of the villain versus the hero. The show’s Medieval time period is based off New England’s 15th century War of the Roses in which several prominent families all lay claim to the throne, or the iron throne. Continue reading Ethical Implications in Game of Thrones