Time Warner: HBO Go to be available to bulk of customers soon

The majority of HBO subscribers will have access to the online version of the cable channel by the end of the year, Time Warner CFO John Martin told a Morgan Stanley conference in Barcelona Wednesday, adding that the online site, HBO Go, hasn't caught on as quickly as expected, in large part, he said, because access to this point has been limited.

"HBO Go," TW's TV Everywhere play, launched in February on Verizon's FiOS TV. Authenticated HBO subscribers hve unlimited access to the site online and even on some devices, like the Apple iPad. When it launched, Eric Kessler, co-president of HBO, said 20 percent to 30 percent of its viewership was through its HBO On Demand service, and that the new platform would help expand that base and retain customers.

"The more our subscribers watch HBO, the more satisfied they are," he said. "The name of the game is retention."

Unfortunately, HBO has struggled in the retention game this year. Time Warner last week announced it expected the cable channel to lose some 1.5 million subscribers by the end of the year, it's worst decline ever. The company blamed a sluggish economy and expiring promotional offers for the decline, although investors also seem to be concerned that Netflix could be cutting into the subscriber base.

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