Time Warner Cable Inc., the second-largest U.S. cable-television provider, is nearing a deal with HBO to offer the HBO Go application to subscribers so they can watch shows on mobile devices, its chief operating officer said.
Time Warner Cable and HBO have been in negotiations since at least May and were already near to a deal in September to let Time Warner customers view programs such as “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Sopranos” on mobile devices, two people close to the talks said at the time.
In an interview at a conference in Barcelona organized by Morgan Stanley, Time Warner Cable COO Robert Marcus today wouldn’t say what is delaying an agreement. The company is confident that a deal will be reached “soon,” he said, adding that the two sides are still working through the details.
Delays have prevented subscribers in New York and Los Angeles, where Time Warner Cable is the dominant cable-TV provider, from getting access to HBO content outside of their home.
Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems Corp. are the only large U.S. pay-TV providers that don’t already give their HBO subscribers access to content on HBO Go.
Customers of Comcast Corp., DirecTV, Dish Network Corp., Verizon Communications Inc.’s FiOS, AT&T Inc.’s U-verse, Charter Communications Inc. and Cox Communications Inc. can authenticate themselves as paying HBO subscribers and get content from HBOGO.com.
Mobile Device Push
Time Warner Cable, spun off from HBO’s owner Time Warner Inc. in 2009, fell 1.7 percent to $60.56 yesterday in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The New York-based company’s shares have declined 8.3 percent this year.
HBO, owned by Time Warner, offers subscribes motion pictures, original series, documentaries, music concerts and made-for-cable movies. Cable programmers such as Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN and Time Warner’s CNN and HBO are working to keep subscribers by letting them watch online on other devices as sales of smartphones and tablets surge.
The global mobile handset market gained 5.6 percent in the third quarter to 440.5 million phones and smartphones accounted for 26 percent of all sales, market researcher Gartner said this month, adding that it forecasts 50 percent growth in smartphones for the year.