The Newsroom on HBO: A Case Study for Cord Cutters

A while back I wrote about how HBO offered us a rare freebie, a streaming version of season 1 episode 1  of HBO’s The Newsroom. Since then the series has gained some success and Season 2 is definitely in the works. So I thought we’d use The Newsroom as a case study. What is the best way for a cord cutter to obtain shows from premium channels: HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, etc.

HBO GO is a no go
In case you have wondered, HBO GO is not for cord cutters. It requires a cable plan PLUS a subscription to HBO. Even though HBO GO has its own Roku channel, it won’t help you cut cable at all. It is however  a nice way to retrieve earlier content on demand.

Cord Trimming
This method means you want The Newsroom so bad you’ll reconnect just to get it. So what does that cost? In my  case it would mean the lowest tier version of TWC, plus a subscription to HBO. So what you would do is subscribe to one of the new economy lineups we discussed in Cord Trimming Light. I’ll assume this is mid-range at about $40/mo. To that we must add an HBO subscription which in my market is $15/mo. At a total of $55/mo this option doesn’t make sense.

Buy the episodes or season from Amazon instant: coming soon?
Amazon instant offers premium channel videos at like Showtime’s Homeland at only $1.99 per episode or $17.99 per season. I only mention Homeland because when I searched on The Newsroom that’s what came up. I’m hopeful The Newsroom will be available soon.

Buy the season on a DVD or Blu-Ray: uh coming really soon?
When I started this post I didn’t realize I was so far ahead of the curve. Unlike the instant offering Amazon at least lists The Newsroom on DVD for $53.99 or on Blu-Ray for $71.98. This is listed as a pre-order meaning you can order it now and they’ll deliver it as soon as available.

Closing Thoughts
In my opinion the best option is the $1.99 per episode deal. My reason is that I may lose interest in the series and I like the low commitment low cost option. It seems unlikely that I’ll want to watch the same series multiple times.

The downside of all this is the lag time. As I mentioned when I picked the topic I hadn’t realized that The Newsroom was not available in any (legal) format other than with a subscription to HBO.  It looks like season 1 was completed in August 2012 and we’re still waiting for the DVD and stream versions in December. I guess HBO doesn’t worry about hitting the Christmas market.


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