On Wednesday evening, The Wall Street Journal reported that DirecTV’s contract with HBO includes wording that could punish the channel if its Web streaming-only service gets too popular.
This past October, HBO announced that in 2015 it will offer a stand-alone service like HBO Go that customers can buy without buying a traditional TV bundle. But little is known about what the service will look like and how HBO is planning to pacify the pay-TV providers that bring in most of its business.
According to “people familiar with the matter,” however, DirecTV’s contract with HBO stipulates that if HBO “signs up more than 450,000 subscribers nationally for the ‘over-the-top’ online service, or 300,000 in any given local market,” then DirecTV has the right to scale back its marketing of HBO. The source also told the WSJ that hitting those subscriber numbers would give DirecTV the right to sell HBO’s streaming service through its own billing department as well.
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