Earlier this year, I discontinued my HBO subscription.Â Like 98% of the US population, I was searching for ways to reduce my monthly expenses and cutting the cable cord was an obvious first choice.Â Though I maintained the basic channels (I’m ’bout it, but not that ’bout it!), all of my premium channels were gone in an instant.Â But I was cool with that because most days I channel surfed aimlessly and ultimately settled on classic Seinfeld or Sex and the CityÂ episodes anyway.Â Plus, with the advent of HBO Go and my dear dad offering to share his HBO Go account info with me, I was set.Â In fact, I felt like I was finally getting over on the biggest racket in town, the cable industry…until last week.
Wednesday morning, I planned to launch HBO Go and watch the premiere episode of Hard Knocks: Miami Dolphins, but that didn’t quite work out as planned.Â I searched and searched. And searched some more, but was continuously hit with:Â “Search Results / 0 results found for ‘hard knocks’.
Excuse me. Come again.
Not only was Episode 1 of the Miami Dolphins season unavailable, but there was also no visible proof HBO had produced six seasons prior to the current one.Â I felt like I had completely lost my mind. Next thing I knew, I was asking myself, aloud, “what the hell is going on?”Â I never even bothered to search YouTube because I knew there was no way HBO would allow it to live on YouTube if it wasn’t even available on its own site, or so I thought.Â But after news of Ochocinco’s arrest overtook twitter last Saturday night, I was subsequently directed to YouTube where Week 1′s full episode had been available since Wednesday.Â After hitting play, I suddenly was at peace again.
Phew.Â One week down.Â Four more to go.
So yesterday, I awoke early to see if the YouTube god’s had blessed me once again by posting the full version of episode 2.Â Indeed they had.Â But by mid-day it vanished for good.
The same helplessness I felt last week returned.Â Fed up, I turned to the ever reliable Google for answers.Â I searched, “why isn’t hard knocks on hbo go” and the second listing entitled, “Why You Can’t Watch the Best Show on HBO on HBO Go“ yielded the following information:
Itâ€™s a co-production with NFL Films, and NFL Films owns the showâ€™s digital rights, including mobile rights. And HBO Go, for the purposes of rights deals, is considered a mobile service.*
Translation:Â it’s about money.Â Duh.
And yet another example of how powerful the NFL and its content truly are.Â If there were ever an entity able to son a property as mammoth as HBO, it’s the almighty NFL.Â After all, ESPN agreed to pay $2 billion annually for Monday Night Football and expanded NFL digital rights because it’s essential to its “serve the fan everywhere” business model.Â But for HBO, extending Hard Knocks‘ rights to HBO’s digital platforms is a nice to have.Â Reminder (to self), HBO Go is a complementary service offered to its subscribers, who are otherwise known as PAYING customers.Â Something I am not.Â So, when I think about this rationally, missing Hard Knocks isn’t the end of the world, especially considering how often I consume all of HBO’s other programming that is conveniently available to me via HBO Go.
The outcome of my query was most certainly a let down, but there’s also tremendous value in simply being informed.Â I begrudgingly accept that an HBO subscription is absolutely necessary for me to watch Hard Knocks.Â But now I can shift my energy from trying to dream up a masterful piracy plan, to finding a local Harlem homey to take pity on my frugal freeloading ass.
The hustle never ends.