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07/20/14

Share and share alike: Is account sharing becoming the norm with pay cable?

Who wouldn't love to catch up on "Game of Thrones" in between meetings just by accessing the HBO app on your tablet or smart phone?
Sounds great, right?
There's one problem with the plan. What if you don't subscribe to HBO through your satellite or cable television provider? In that case, you'll have to resort to finding a friend or co worker the following Monday to fill you in as far as what happened Sunday night.
Some of the more savvy and resourceful app users and fans of various shows that are only offered on pay channels like HBO, Showtime or Starz have found a way to work around not paying for the channels yet still enjoying their favorite programming on the go.
They simply find someone who has the channel and borrows their user name and password. This practice isn't anything new, especially given the rise of online and streaming media with the likes of not only the HBO type applications as well as Netflix, Hulu and even the MLB and WWE networks.

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So what exactly are the presidents and CEOs of these companies saying about this practice?
For some, like those inside the walls of HBO headquarters, they don't mind this much at all. One way you can look at it is HBO is getting its product out to more people and thus creating the kind of buzz that no marketing dollar can buy. Of course, they're not tallying the kind of official subscribers that they might want, but ultimately their driving the popularity of their show through the roof, which allows them to continue to finance first run programming that continues to crush anything standard cable television is putting out for the masses.
Those within the cable and television industry with any sort of vision look at this so called piracy as just a free preview that they haven't authorized. Being that there's no such thing as bad publicity, HBO executives aren't going through any legal channels and instead taking a different approach even though they could easily look into password sharing and perhaps stop it cold.
But their not taking the Metallica and Napster route, which is both refreshing and astute on their part. They're not necessarily encouraging viewers to borrow passwords from friends, but they're also quick to point out that it doesn't bother them, either.
HBO and its brass have enough wherewithal and perspective to understand that viewers are viewers, plain and simple, no matter how they get their hands on their programs.

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