The cord cutting heard around the world? HBO FTW!
When someone cuts the cord in Northern Sweden, does it make a noise? I hope so. According to Variety's Andrew Wallenstien, HBO is offering a stand-alone digital product in Scandinavia. That means you'll no longer need a subscription to HBO through a cable provider in those countries. You can simply pay ten Euros a month to stream all of HBO's content at your leisure.
This is huge. In my mind, HBO and ESPN are the only two cable companies (there may be exceptions like Comedy Central, AMC, Showtime, etc) holding back an eventual tidal wave of cord-cutting. If those networks ever decide to make their programming available through a streaming subscription model - one that doesn't require the purchase of a premium, bundled cable package from the likes of Comcast or DirectTV - then it will only be a matter of time before millions of Americans decide to go fully a la carte. We are still years away from that happening, I'm sure. And HBO's move in Scandinavia doesn't mean they would do the same here. That being said, I'm excited to see that things are moving in this direction. I think it's eventually going to shake up the way content is paid for and distributed. The longrun effect will be more choice for consumers, and more opportunity for content creators.