You didn’t need to be a “True Detective” to figure out what went wrong on HBO Go last night, although there were a few conspiracy theorists rushing to explain the outage. HBO’s app-based and multiplatform streaming choked on demand for the final episode of the hit series starring Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson.
Some app users trying to stream the final episode as it aired over the linear broadcast were met with the familiar but relentless spinning circle. Others got thrown an error code. HBO quickly responded on Twitter, stating: "Due to overwhelmingly popular demand for #TrueDetective, we've been made aware of an issue affecting some users. Please try again soon."
According to some users, it took a couple of hours for them to access the hotly anticipated finale. HBO Go requires user authentication via their cable or satellite provider to confirm they are paying customers for the premium channel. Some users speculated that HBO was trying to clamp down on login and password sharing. According to a Time.com article, however, HBO does not see the illicit login sharing as a serious threat to their business, since it promoted their pay service via exposure. Acording to many reports, HBO is considering offering HBO Go as a stand-alone subscription service that does not require premium subscription through an existing cable or satellite provider. Arguably, HBO Go is the most successful example of cross-platform, app-based redistribution of linear TV. The company has credited the strategy with supporting its subscriber retention.