HBO is finally cutting the cable aspect out of its service, or at least partially, as it looks to a future beyond the set top box.
During Time Warner Inc’s Investor Day meeting on 15 October, Richard Plepler, the chief executive of HBO, announced that HBO plans to launch a standalone streaming version of its premium cable network in 2015.
The upcoming streaming service is considered an extension of HBO Go and will be available to all paid subscribers of HBO as well as paid subscribers who don't have a cable or satellite subscription.
Like Sky's popular Now TV service in the UK, the idea is that consumers who prefer to stream their favourite shows over the internet will soon have access to HBO's impressive catalogue without having to go through a third-party video program provider.
The move will not only help HBO compete with Netflix but also target millions of potential customers in the US: “That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” Plepler told investors, while also staying tight-lipped about the over-the-top service.
At the moment in the US, no HBO customers can't access shows like Game of Thrones without having a cable subscription.
Although HBO didn't provide details about how much the service will cost, reports have claimed it won't be cheaper than what a typical HBO subscription costs through video program providers.
The company is probably avoiding a discount in order to appease cable and satellite companies, as it is delivering a streaming service that cord-cutters will appreciate.
HBO - which is famous for many successful series such as Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and Game of Thrones - has roughly 30 million subscribers in the US at this moment, but Plepler said the new streaming service could reach an extra 70 million non-subscribers.
In the UK, the company has an exclusive content partnership deal with Sky until 2020, so it would be interesting to see if that agreement will allow them to also offer back-cataglogue shows in addition to the content already available via Sky.
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