Update: HBO Streaming Service Will Be Called HBO Now, Debut in April on Apple TV and iOS
The previously announced HBO streaming service that allows people to subscribe directly to the premium movie channel without need for a cable or satellite subscription finally has a name. The International Business Times announced that the service will be called HBO Now and will launch in April with a subscription price of $15 per month. That puts it at the same price as adding HBO service to a pay TV account.
The IBT report noted that Apple "has been most aggressive in courting HBO in a bid to add the service to Apple TV," while also saying that HBO will need wider distribution—such as through game consoles and Roku set-top boxes—to succeed. While several sites have played up the Apple TV angle, HBO will certainly need the widest distribution it can get. (Update 3/9/14: At today's Apple event, HBO and Apple announced that HBO Now will debut exclusively on Apple TV and iOS devices. Apple also announced it was dropping the price of the Apple TV from $99 to $69. HBO did not say if or when the service would be available on other devices.)
The launch date is set to coincide with the fifth season of HBO's popular series Game of Thrones. HBO is working with Major League Baseball Advanced Media to create the backend for the service, and is certainly hoping to avoid the kinds of streaming issues that plagued the HBO Go launch.
HBO hasn't yet announced what content the streaming service will offer. (Update: HBO Now will offer the same content as the HBO Go app.) Insiders will be watching closely to see if the $15 per month price—which is more than Netflix but less than Sling TV—sounds appropriate to viewers.
As the number of subscription video services continues to expand, execs need to understand how to transition linear programming to the online world.
If a news report is correct, Apple will soon lure cord-cutters with a bundle that includes most of the broadcast networks.
17% of U.S. broadband customers are likely to subscribe to HBO GO when the service becomes available, says Parks Associates, with more than half of survey respondents saying they'll cut the cord entirely.
Longtime HBO CTO Otto Berkes resigned the company after his internal streaming platform was shut down.
In a move that's sure to be a blow to cable and satellite, HBO announced that customers will soon be able to get its content without a pay TV subscription.