While it's too early to tell if this is a winning play for AOL, it's certainly a good step for its objectives. Beaten up by subscriber losses in its dial-up service, AOL needs to convince broadband customers that it's got something that nobody else has. This HBO model could work if there's enough exclusive content that people care about.
I wonder if broadband users are adept enough to find programming by their own means or whether they prefer a more packaged approach. We'll see.