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Comcast Unbundles HBO — Sort of

Paul Ausick

In what can only be described as a move toward letting subscribers pick and choose which cable and broadcast networks they’re willing to pay for (often called a la carte programming), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA) is reportedly about to offer a package that includes Time Warner Inc.’s (TWX) popular HBO channel and HBO Go, the channel’s mobile app. Comcast’s so-called “Internet Plus” package includes broadband Internet service, a basic group of about 10 or so cable channels that would include local channels, and Comcast’s own streaming video offering, Streampix.

According to DSLreports.com the service would have an introductory monthly price of $40 to $50 for 12 months after which it would jump by $20 for six more months before settling at $70 to $80 a month. Comcast currently advertises its broadband Internet service with Streampix and HBO Go for $50 a month for 12 months. Adding HBO appears to be free at the beginning, but eventually will cost $20 to $30 a month.

The Comcast/HBO deal is not really a la carte pricing, but it’s a lot closer than anything else on the market. At the introductory price it looks like a decent deal if you want HBO. What remains to be seen is if subscribers will stick around after the price goes up in a year.