HBO’s “Reagan”

Why we subscribe

It didn’t take HBO long to realize that its real success did not rest on re-playing films we’d missed at the theaters.

And once the HBO braintrust figured out we could watch those movies from many venues, the next step may have seemed easy, but I bet it wasn’t.

Because the next step was going to be expensive. Very expensive.

The next step was creating original content, and to compete with, what at the time, was still a formidible network system that offered quality shows FREE, HBO would have to spend a lot of money.

Money for the best writers, the best actors, the best directors, the best cinematographers.

The best TALENT.

If HBO had not taken that decision, decades ago, I doubt it would be around today.

We might have never had TV series like OZ, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Six Feet Under — shows we’ve all seen, shows that have changed the way we think about TV.

Not to mention the HBO documentaries, like this latest one that debuted Monday night:


It seems to me that Radio’s in a situation not unlike HBO’s 10 or 15 years ago.

Beset with increasing competition and declining revenues, our choice is to continue to cut expense, especially expensive, original content and the people responsible for it…

OR to realize that it is this expensive talent, this exclusive content, that will be the reason we’re saved, the reason radio is chosen.

No successful business survives without taking risk.

But the risk our business is taking, by slashing the very content that makes us stand apart from Pandora, Spotify, and an iPod, may be unsurvivable.

Time will tell.