gameofthrones

Cable cutters, rejoice! HBO has relented and will go forward with plans to enable a standalone streaming service in 2015, Re/code reported Wednesday.

Though details are scarce, the forthcoming service will allow people to watch HBO’s original programming, TV shows, movies, documentaries and more, but without pay TV subscription.

According to HBO CEO Richard Plepler speaking at Time Warner Inc.’s investor day meeting on Wednesday, the company is indeed planning to launch a “standalone, over-the-top” subscription offering at some point next year. The disruptive move couldn’t be overstated as it’s going to be a major blow to the complacent American cable industry.

The subscription HBO Go service will be initially offered in the United States, but Plepler says they’re planning to bring it to customers overseas in a move he called ”transformative for our company” because a standalone streaming could be “just as large, if not larger,” than the US market.

HBO’s parent company, Time Warner Inc., confirmed the move in a media release, saying HBO will work with both current and new partners as it explores new models.

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” he said. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO. So, in 2015, we will launch a standalone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States.”

He refused to talk about other specifics like price or whether the online version of the service will be a windowed version of HBO available to pay TV customers.

If the latter, major shows may not appear on the online subscription version until months after they debut on TV. As a point of reference, Netflix is available for eight to ten bucks per month and has more than 50 million subscribers on the web.

HBO Go is currently available bundled with so-called triple-play services from telecommunications companies and cannot be purchased without a cable or satellite subscription.

Although it’s possible to get HBO and HBO Go without paying a ridiculous $100+ cable bill, the service must be purchased together with a subscription to a broadband Internet service.

HBO Go is supported across a myriad of different platforms and services, including on the Apple TV, but again — a pay TV subscription is needed to authorize the Apple TV app.

There’s no doubt that a web-only HBO Go offering is going to change the game, especially knowing that one out of each four millennials doesn’t watch pay TV at all.

Plepler drove the point home saying the upcoming service will target the ten million people in the United States who subscribe to broadband, but don’t watch television. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO.

[Re/code, Time Warner PR]

  • butterfield

    Please HBO, bring this service to Canada too, please! Having to buy a crap bundled cable package to get HBO in Canada is infuriating.

    • They won’t. I bet every single thing I own that it’ll be region locked, have DRM that stifles innovation due to it requiring plugins and other components preventing innovative people from integrating the HBO service into their own platforms (although to be fair every streaming service seems to have this and it sucks) and I doubt it’ll be cheap either…

      On a positive note though at least companies are finally starting to take notice of what the consumers want. Whether they’ll give the consumers exactly what they want to the letter is another thing though…

    • Geoffrey Spencer

      I doubt it. HBO Canada I believe is owned by TMN’s parent, Bell Media. They want you to get Bell TV (Fibe or Satellite). I can be hopeful but I doubt it. There is also the recent nonsense between (should be scrapped all together) CRTC and Netflix.

  • JoshuaHulgan

    I hope this turns into a tidal wave knocking down cable companies and its stifling ways left and right.
    When the $$ starts rolling in they’ll ask, ” why in the hell didn’t we do this before?!?”

  • Dan

    /coughs PirateBay

  • Xee

    Be good if this was a world wide offering (region-less). They would make a killing. But that would be too sensible.

    • Spot on! Common sense is not something the entertainment industry understands…

  • Legimitate porn on iOS! Finally 😛

    • George

      Lmaoooo