Is HBO Having its Lifeblood Sucked Away by DirecTV?

Sep 13, 2010  •  Post A Comment

HBO should be having a great year given that it’s airing the third season of the hit "True Blood" and earlier this year debuted the award-winning "The Pacific," but instead HBO found itself with its lowest number of subscribers in four years during the second quarter, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

The pay-television channel had 28.6 million subscribers in the second quarter, according to numbers from SNL Kagan. That represents the second of its first back-to-back quarterly declines in at least six years, the story says.

So what’s going on? DirecTV is sucking the lifeblood from HBO, the story says. The No. 1 satellite service has been using a tactic to pressure the network during carriage negotiations, by using "drastic reduction of the promotional support crucial to "upselling" HBO to subscribers," the article concludes.

Neither HBO nor DirecTV would comment, the story says.

Showtime and Starz saw subscriber increases in the second quarter. The bottom line may be that no matter how popular a pay-TV network’s shows may be, they’ll suffer when a distributor pulls back on hawking the service to customers, the article says.


  1. hbo makes ridiculous demands to operators when it comes to carriage fees. props to directv for putting hbo in their place.
    i still have hbo but there are many cheaper alternatives like showtime and starz.

  2. I still pay for HBO and I have no idea why. I have found nothing compelling on there since “Deadwood”.

  3. I cancelled HBO as soon as I heard Deadwood wasn’t returning. The only thing that would make me resubscribe is when they air the first of the two Deadwood movies they promised us to conclude the series. Or for season three of Rome. Failing that. HBO can suck it.

  4. We folks with the Red state mindset are sort of getting tired of paying for the graphic content of HBO… But the answer in apart seems to be that the movies available are getting worse and worse. Great production values… Lousy story lines etc. And that Netflix, etc have widened the choices viewers have.
    More choice when the routine fare is ether so crude (Hard Knocks no, haven’t seen it, but HATE foul language) or hum-drum… Isn’t it obvious? I am surprised the piece didn’t really explore the Netflix angle.
    Just a thought…..

  5. Not just the Netflix angle, but DVDs in general. What’s so special about a pay-cable-created series, miniseries or movie if I can catch it 6-12 months later on DVD–whether through Netflix or the local library? Same could apply to Showtime and Starz, though, and their shows can be just as graphic or filled w/foul language. Pay cable networks all around are less appealing, while regular cable offers new (and relatively cleaner) shows without the extra charge.
    Then again, maybe it’s just because the Sopranos are over.

  6. Right there with you, Don! I’m still holding a Deadwood grudge, too! I left HBO for SHO and haven’t looked back. SHO has better originals right now, anyway!

  7. I had HBO but canceled it because they have that scumbag Bill Maher on. My wife and I like True Blood but can wait and get it from Netflix.

  8. I cancelled DirecTV because they only offered 2 channels of HBO in HD. ATT has 14 HD HBO channels.

  9. Have to agree – DVD rentals or Netflix are a heck of lot cheaper than the $$ a month you pay for HBO, when you’re only paying for a few favorite shows. So of course, in belt tightening, this monthly expense can go, over say, plumbing. I suspect blaming DirecTV is an internal HBO politics thing.
    Though my neighbor, who has (had?) HBO, takes issue with the constant foul language. One day, writers may figure out that four-letter words just make content edgier, not better. Whatta bunch of Belguims….

  10. FYI…DirecTV has 4 out of 7 HBO stations in HD at the moment.

  11. I’m holding a Deadwood grudge too – and how stupid of them to have let Rome end so early???
    (The Big C on Showtime is better than anything on HBO right now. )
    I’m starting to watch Starz more and more. Party Down was hilarious (while it lasted) and Spartacus is a lot of fun. Who knows? It may become the new HBO given time.

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