HBO’s Game of Thrones is one of the most popular television series out there, if the rampant piracy of episodes is anything to go by. When HBO announced they were launching a standalone service, many Go fans were excited at the prospect. However, it seems that the in-house solution has been shelved in favor of a system built by MLB Advanced Media.
The project, code-named “Maui,” ran into some problems, according to an internal memo that’s been circulating in the press. “Maui’s timeframe caused us to make concessions both in scope and culture. We look forward to returning to teams defining scope, and consumer experiences, without forced top-down scheduling,” according to the memo, sent by HBO executives.
HBO’s CTO, Otto Berkes, was blamed for outages in the HBO Go service earlier this year by sources familiar with the matter. Some accused his department of lacking unity, direction and clarity. “If you look at what [HBO Go] is today versus two years ago, he hasn’t really done anything,” a source told Fortune.
A standalone over-the-top service will still go live in April, in time for the new season of Game of Thrones, built by MLB Advanced Media. MLB Advanced Media is a streaming service that hosts MLB.tv (which streams every major league game) the WWE network streaming service and ESPN services.
The internal corporate struggling aside, this is an interesting move for HBO. By partnering with MLB Advanced Media, it retains distribution control of its content, and it doesn’t cut into profits by partnering with Hulu or Netflix, which are a little quiet about their costs. As we’ve seen in the user generated video market, exclusivity can be worth holding on to.