HBO Go Passwords: Do They Really Want You to Share Them?

by | Mar 14, 2014 | General

There has been a lot of misconceptions on HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler’s comments concerning sharing HBO Go passwords. But after all the hype over the online streaming service’s outage disaster during the season finale of True Detective on Sunday, we should set the record straight.

In January, BuzzFeed ran a post titled, “HBO’s CEO Doesn’t Care That You Are Sharing Your HBO Go Password.” The post talks about Plepler’s lack of concern over young people who use their parents’ HBO Go passwords to stream shows and movies online. His reasoning is that it might actually benefit HBO in the future, hoping that young people who use the online streaming service through their parents’ accounts will one day subscribe themselves.

Most readers would find Plepler’s statement logical, but since it is so easy to twist people’s words to create new meaning, it wasn’t long before other articles were written with the same tone of, “HBO wants you to use your friends’ and families’ HBO Go passwords.” And this tone has given the impression that Plepler is encouraging us to freeload.

It’s important to know that, however infrequent it is mentioned in these types of articles, that in BuzzFeed’s post Plepler goes on to explain that when kids use their parents’ passwords it serves as a “marketing vehicle” to entice the next generation of viewers to subscribe to the service. He goes on to say that it isn’t necessarily “material to the growth of the business” however, and so with this explanation we must circle back to why it doesn’t raise much of a concern for the network rather than assuming Plepler is giving some sort of permission to use family and friends’ passwords.

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