Everything I love, all over the place
My girlfriend and I love watching movies and TV shows, so we can’t ignore the advertising: HBO Max is coming to The Netherlands. This month yet another app is launched to watch movies and series on our TV, phone or computer. Just a couple of bucks a month and we can watch as much as we want. And if we subscribe before the end of the month we get a 50% discount, forever.
This is all very tempting, if it weren’t for the fact that HBO Max would be our 4th (!) paid video streaming service, after Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ (5th of we also count our ‘regular’ cable TV subscription). Sure, they can all be canceled any time, but the ugly truth is that once you get an all-you-can-eat monthly video buffet, you’re hooked.
HBO Max’s lifetime 50% discount is especially clever. It makes it so appealing to just try it out for a month. What’s 4 euros? But of course the price of canceling after that month is higher: if we would want to re-join later, it’s going to cost us 8 euros, making it less likely for us to leave. I feel like Don Corleone is making me an offer I can’t refuse.
But what stings me the most is HBO Max’s tagline: Everything you love. All in one place. Bullshit! This is the exact opposite of what’s happening! It’s more like: everything I love is all over the place. If I want to watch something, I already have to check 3 different apps to see if it’s available. Then I’m not even counting other video sources like broadcast TV and YouTube. Now HBO Max is joining the party, but where does this end? How many more streaming services can we expect?
Somehow we have come to find it normal that every major owner of movie and TV rights has their own platform. But can you imagine we would have the same for music? If instead of just one subscription to Spotify you would have 4 different music labels? One for Sony, one for Warner, one for Universal and one for Columbia Records – and then still you wouldn’t have most artists and songs? Why can’t we have a single video platform that just contains all films and series ever made? The world of video rights must be very different from that of music rights.
So will we try out HBO Max? Is their catalog worth adding to our TV? HBO is owned by Warner, and Warner owns DC, that other major superhero label with heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman and my all time favorite hero: Superman. Getting HBO Max would allow me to watch all that content whenever I want, as much as I want.
And if there’s one thing I can’t get enough of, it’s superheroes – especially Superman. In my life I’ve already spent many, many euros on DVD’s, comic books, books, toys, collectibles and clothing featuring Superman. What’s another 4 euros for what I love?