Philo and HBO Go No Longer Available to Harvard Students For Free

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A student browses HBO Go. This semester, Harvard discontinued HBO Go and Philo service for students.
Harvard students hoping to watch Daenerys Targaryen and the Lannisters battle for control of the seven kingdoms in the final season of “Game of Thrones” free of charge are out of luck.

As of September 15, students will no longer have free access to HBO Go and Philo, two online television streaming platforms that had been available for free as part of a package deal Philo had with Harvard. But the agreement became expensive enough that Philo has decided to end it, leaving some students upset they’ll be without prestige television dramas and streaming services.

“Cable network programming does not come cheap, and Philo has covered those costs for all Harvard undergraduates since the beginning,” reads a release on the company’s website. “This year, prices increased beyond our control at a rate we could no longer sustain, so we found ourselves having to make the difficult decision to cease operations at Harvard.”

Nikki M. Daurio ’20 said she was “livid” when she first received a message earlier this year that her subscription to Philo would eventually be cancelled. Daurio said that watching television has become a way for her to escape the “Harvard bubble.”

“Being on campus, you’re away from your home, and being able to watch shows from middle school and high school makes it feel homier,” Daurio said. “It’s nice to get away from the chaos of Harvard.”

According to College spokesperson Rachael Dane, Harvard will not pick up the bill for the services.

“Unfortunately, the only way to continue to provide the service was for Harvard College to now pay for a service for students (and potentially pass that cost to them in additional fees) that was only taken advantage of by a fraction of them,” Dane wrote in an emailed statement.

Students uninterested in the fate of the Iron Throne were less worried about the change. Rini Halder ’19 said it would not substantially impact on her because she did not use the services when they were originally offered.

“I feel like it’s more of a distraction, and do we really need more distractions?” Hannah J. Humes ’21 said.

Still, Cara O’Connor ’18 said that Harvard could have easily picked up the bill for a service many students use and appreciate.

“We just have so much money, so I don’t understand,” O’Connor said.

In its press release, Philo wrote that it has new “exciting projects” in the works.

—Staff writer Edith M. Herwitz can be reached at edith.herwitz@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @edith_herwitz.

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