For a company whose tagline consists of the statement, “It’s not TV,” HBO has been incredibly slow-moving to distribute it’s content on any platform that isn’t television. The subscription-based network’s past digital strategy was basically not to have one. Then, last month came the announcement that HBO on Broadband will rollout free access to about 400 hours of programming to current subscribers. And today it launched a YouTube Channel.
So far, there’s not much to it. There are full episodes of the critically-liked, fledgling In Treatment, some special features from The Wire, and clips from Flight of the Conchords. Good to have, I suppose, but nothing too special that will replace the original home box office anytime in the near future. It’s basically a promotional vehicle, giving limited exposure to some minor offerings. This makes sense considering HBO is, at its core, a subscription-based service, operating under different economics than your normal advertiser-centric TV network.
What catches my eye, however, is that the entirety of Mel’s Video Blog is available on the channel, and also the report that “HBO said it expects to launch YouTube-exclusive content in the near future.”
###Supplementary content like the videod ramblings of Bret and Jemaine’s one-and-only-fan costs next to nothing to produce, provides the shows and network with easy promotional material, and gives fans additional entertainment. Now that there’s some place to put it where people will actually see it (instead of tucked away in a corner of HBO.com) it’s that much more valuable. I happily expect that we’ll see a lot more of it.