For a very long time, HBO's content was, in one way or another, limited to cable subscribers. Those wanting to get their fix of dragons, swords, and people declaring that winter was coming would have to either buy the episodes individually through outlets like Google Play, or be cable subscribers with HBO on their bill, giving them access to HBO's iconic lineup through the HBO GO app. HBO's rivalries with streaming services have thus far kept their shows largely out of the hands of those who didn't want to pay up the right amounts in the right ways. With streaming options out the window and a trip to the dark side of the internet entailing incredible risk and requiring considerable savvy, cord cutters who wanted to see the shows rolled up into their regular bills for a streaming service are largely left out in the cold, but all that is set to change very soon.
With AT&T's buyout of DIRECTV, they set out to revolutionize both DIRECTV's availability channels, and their content, buffing their own offerings in the process. Besides getting DIRECTV some subscribers by offering an unlimited mobile data plan along with cable TV, they've also added in three new services. Of the three new streaming methods for DIRECTV customers who don't want a traditional cable plan, DIRECTV NOW is billed as the flagship product, and that's where you will find HBO's exclusive content when the service finally launches, reportedly some time in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The agreement will mark the first time HBO's content has made its way to any sort of streaming service outside of HBO's own HBO GO app, which could pave the way for similar deals from other premium networks in the future. For now, traditional DIRECTV and U-Verse subscribers can take comfort in the fact that this deal also extends HBO's availability on those platforms. Additionally, a press release says that HBO and Cinemax content will be making its way to some of AT&T's other mobile video offerings in the future, but details on those arrangements are a bit on the sparse side. The "multi-year agreement" does not have an announced end date at the moment.