HBO is bringing streaming service to us without the need for a cable package. HBO CEO Richard Piper said that the company is bringing a web-only version of HBO via a subscription model that is as yet undefined. The new web version of HBO is coming sometime in 2015, but Piper didn’t provide any other details. Piper called said the web version is a “stand alone, over the top” way to access HBO content. He didn’t say whether this would be through the HBO GO app, through their website, or through some new service or app that the company would be launching.
This is huge, you guys. We have been clamoring for a stand-alone version of HBO for a long time. Netflix is the king at $7.99, but most of us would be willing to pay a little more than that for streaming options of HBO and other channels like ESPN. I cut off my cable a long time ago. That means finding shows like Game of Thrones through other means like Showbox, but I would happily pay HBO if they made it easy to do. Same thing with other shows I love, like The Walking Dead. Sports are a big part of my life and I would pay for ESPN and other NFL and NHL channels too. This move by HBO opens the door for other channels to follow in their footsteps.
It will be an uphill battle against the major cable companies. They won’t like that HBO is potentially sidestepping them and offering services directly to customers. I would not expect to see ESPN or anyone else make this move anytime soon. It’s easier for a premium channel like HBO to offer a service like this because they don’t survive on ad revenue. Other players that live off advertising dollars won’t be so eager to cut that tie. We may end up with streaming options that are more similar to Hulu Plus, where you pay a monthly cost, but still have to watch ads. Whatever happens, this is exciting.