Finally – a move in the right direction for premium cable; especially for those of us who have long avoided paying for full cable TV service when one only watches a handful of channels. It’s not quite the à la carte service I’ve been pushing for on this blog, but, as I said, it’s a step in the right direction.
Last fall, HBO announced that the premium pay-TV channel would be launching a stand-alone, online streaming version of its service this year, 2015.
The new service will be primarily targeted at those of you who don’t currently have a cable or satellite-TV subscription.
“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” HBO said in October 2014.
Indeed, indeed sir!
This afternoon, according to Reuters, HBO has is eyeing an April launch date for the service, which is expected to cost $15 a month.
Called "HBO Now," the service will launch next month, as early as April 12 (just in time for the season 5 premiere of "Game of Thrones"). The report also states that HBO is hoping to line up Apple as one of their launch partners (meaning an HBO app that’s separate from HBO Go will be available on Apple TV).
Other partners for the HBO Now service including Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, and Amazon, most of whom have streaming services of their own.
At $15/month, HBO Now will be nearly twice the cost of Netflix’s streaming service, which is available for as low as $7.99/month, and about the same cost as if you were to sign up for HBO through a cable company. HBO has always seen their service as a “premium,” thus the higher cost than services like Netflix, even though the have much less content than a service like Netflix.
Debuting HBO Now with "Game of Thrones" is a smart business decision, as the critically-acclaimed, and very popular drama is one of the most-pirated shows in TV history – a fact that I’m sure HBO is very well aware of. Whether HBO Now will curb some of that piracy remains to be seen.