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HBO: Netflix must charge more to use our content

HBO won't come to Netflix's streaming service until the latter charges customers $20 per month, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Don't hold your breath for the arrival of "The Sopranos" or "Entourage" on Netflix's streaming service.

Citing a "high-placed Time Warner executive," The Hollywood Reporter reported late last week that the only way for Time Warner-owned HBO to offer its content on Netflix's service is if the rental company charges customers $20 per month, rather than the $7.99 it currently charges streaming-only users. At such a price, The Hollywood Reporter's source claims, Netflix would get a "meaningful amount of HBO content."

Jeff Cusson, HBO senior vice president of corporate affairs, stopped short of discussing a price point that would make the channel offer its programming to Netflix. He told The Hollywood Reporter that "HBO believes in content exclusivity, especially for high-value content." He made it clear that the company "has no intention of making its content available for streaming on Netflix."

This isn't the first time HBO has said it doesn't want to work with Netflix. Over the summer, HBO Co-President Eric Kessler told Bloomberg that customers would need to "pay a premium" for HBO content and that maintaining exclusivity was important.

To some Netflix customers, this may be disappointing. Currently, several TV networks, including NBC, Fox, and ABC, deliver a decent selection of titles via Netflix. Some of the more popular shows from the past few years, including "Lost" and "Family Guy," are available on Netflix.

But as Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos pointed out to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO's programming is "very expensive to produce." Moreover, the channel survives on monthly subscription fees from customers in order to create all that content. Offering it on Netflix and letting consumers pay a nominal fee to access it whenever they want might not make financial sense for the company.

But that hasn't stopped HBO from streaming programming itself. Last year, the company launched HBO Go, a free service for current HBO subscribers that streams movies, television shows, and other programming.