Alongside Tuesday’s launch of HBO’s new standalone streaming service, HBO Now, Fast Company published a wide-ranging interview with the network’s chief executive Richard Plepler. The piece offers a behind-the-scenes look at how Now came about, and more interesting to us, how Apple got involved.
As Plepler tells it, HBO had been working on a streaming service for a few years, with plans to launch in 2016. But due to increasing competition from Netflix, and a looming takeover bid from media mogul Rubert Murdoch, they decided to speed up the timetable. So he gave his old friend Jimmy Iovine a call.
Plepler asked Iovine, who sold his company Beats Electronics to Apple last year for $3 billion and is now an executive for the iPad maker, if the Cupertino firm would be interested in being the lead distributor of HBO Now. Iovine of course said yes, and the two companies immediately started hashing out a deal.
“Plepler also reached out to Time Warner board member Paul Wachter, who worked on the Apple-Beats deal in his day job as an investment banker,” reports Fast Company’s Nicole Laporte. “Wachter connected him with Apple’s digital media chief, Eddy Cue, who came to New York for a meeting in Plepler’s office. Plepler explained that he needed a distributor, and that HBO Now would be ready by the spring (when Game of Thrones’ season 5 would bow). Cue tells me that he wanted to do the deal with HBO “the next day.”
The deal was done by October, and announced in March as part of Apple’s Spring Apple Watch/MacBook event. It seems to have worked out well for both companies, shining a bright spotlight on HBO’s new streaming service, and providing a much-needed booster shot to the arm of Apple’s aging set-box.
HBO Now is $15 per month, and you don’t need a cable subscription to sign up. There’s also a free 30-day trial for those who want to check it out.
Source: Fast Company