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HBO to Offer Online-Only Streaming in 2015, Sidesteps Pay TV

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Confirming rumors that were floating around the industry, HBO announced that it will offer standalone streaming service in 2015. That means customers who don't subscribe to a pay TV service will be able to get HBO via a broadband connection.

The announcement came from Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO of HBO, speaking at today's Time Warner investor meeting. After addressing HBO's U.S. business, in which he said HBO was growing with pay TV services, he addressed the growing number of households that don't have pay TV but do have broadband. There are currently 10 million such households and that number will grow, he said.

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO," Plepler said.

“So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners. And, we will explore models with new partners. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”

Plepler did not discuss what the streaming-only service will cost. This is good news for cord-cutters and cord-nevers, giving a new option for customers who want to avoid expensive pay TV subscriptions. The industry will be watching to see if cable and satellite companies retaliate and if other premium movie services follow HBO's lead.

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