HBO GO is an application for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and Android which provides access to HBO programs on a VOD basis as added value to those who subscribe to HBO (and whose multichannel provider have a deal with HBO to authorize GO). Unlike distributor TV Everywhere schemes where the multichannel provider still aggregates the content and has the direct relationship with the customer, HBO GO allows HBO a direct relationship with its subscribers and puts the HBO content in its own garden, so to speak. ESPN's WatchESPN app is similar in these respects. It is semi-over-the-top.
How significant is the one million download figure? HBO has about 28 million subscribers. The main distribs that do not have deals for HBO GO are Time Warner Cable and Cablevision, which represent about 16% of multichannel subs, so the HBO GO potential universe is about 23.5 million and 1 million of that is about 4%. iOS and Android devices are not 100% penetrated, however. If we assume they are 50% penetrated (which feels high) then the one million downloads represents 8% penetration, if we assume they are 27% penetrated (smartphones were 27% penetrated in the US in December 2010, but a good chunk are Blackberries and other OSs and the 27% doesn't include the incremental penetration of iPads and other tablets -- let's assume they offset each other), then the GO app is about 15% penetrated...not a bad start, which suggests that 1400 titles is a pretty compelling content offering.
HBO Gets it Right (paidcontent)