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Dr.Dave 2014-10-15 11:44 AM

HBO NOW - Stand-Alone Streaming Service (U.S. only)
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Speaking at the Time Warner Inc. Investor Meeting today, Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO, announced that the company will offer a stand-alone HBO streaming service in 2015. Following a portion of his presentation focused on HBO’s domestic business, during which he cited significant growth opportunities inside the pay-TV universe, Plepler then turned to the current ten million broadband-only homes, which is projected to grow.

Plepler then added:

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.

“So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners. And, we will explore models with new partners. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”
Press Release.

Note that this service may not be available in Canada since HBO Canada and Bell Media have licensed the content (unless you are able to circumvent geo-blocking.) See:

HBO Canada acquires all past episodes of current series

ExDilbert 2014-10-15 02:29 PM

This is very good news for US HBO customers. Since Bell now owns HBO Canada, I have serious doubts this will happen in Canada. While Astral still owned it, there might have been a possibility for a similar Canadian service.

jokeDR 2014-10-16 02:12 AM

This is excellent news. I hope it works easily with geo blocking . I wonder if they will stream live events such as boxing and concerts?

John Koenig 2014-10-16 08:52 AM

Geo-blocking is a no-brainer in my humble opinion but will HBO's billing system allow our canuck CCs???

You know guys, with all the online dilution going on with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO and I believe Showtime goingin online, the going will get tough for the all-round entertainment portal.

TV just might go supernova for a while, when cablecasters come up with all sorts of cheap plans and incentives to retain Pay-TV customers.

God I miss 20th Century entertainment!

Lindsay649 2014-10-16 10:08 AM

If the big three in Canada can make another buck or two....the likelihood of HBO on-line is a possibility. Not really an ownership issue but one of rights and/or licensing in this country. Even with my optimism.....someone somewhere in CRTC headquarters is busy dreaming up some restriction regarding Canadian culture/content.

ExDilbert 2014-10-16 11:23 AM

It's not the CRTC we need to be concerned about. It's companies like Bell and Rogers that control content delivery, the broadcasting industry and obtain Canadian rights to massive amounts of content. As long as they continue on their present course, competition will be virtually non-existent in Canada. Netflix may provide the appearance of competition but they have nowhere near the amount of content that they do in unregulated markets. Other OTT services are mostly notable by their absence in Canada.

LONSat 2014-10-16 07:04 PM

So CBS announced today they are going to offer a service at 5.99 / month. So how will this end up, the other networks are going to offer a similar service.

ABC 5.99
CBS 5.99 they are setting the initial price
NBC 5.99
FOX 5.99
CW 4.99 discounted as it is not as popular
PBS 4.99 as above
HBO 15.00
Sports 15.00 to 25.00 per month
Others x.xx

Total 63.00 to $73.00+

That doesn't even include a smattering of eventual online specialities.
The total begins to look like a cable bill. And what about a PVR that is easy to use a compatible with all the eventual DRM that each of the providers while want to have.

Don't get me wrong I am all for pick and pay and under no illusion that pick and pay would save me any money but I don't think an evolution to an internet delivered free for all will save anyone any money and for many users it will just add complexity to get programming. Eventually someone will become an online aggregator and we will have cable 2.0

TorontoColin 2014-10-16 08:46 PM

Well sure, if you're going to subscribe to all the content you get from cable, it's going to cost much more than cable, thanks to cable TV's business model. But, even if we assume for a moment that in this situation those channels aren't available via OTA, would you really subscribe to all of them?

Me, I'd get HBO and sports, Netflix, and maybe one network if they were carrying a show I really cared about seeing as soon as it aired. If there's anything else, I'd wait and buy it when the season is released. Lots of people wouldn't bother with sports, or HBO, or whatever else they don't care to watch.

If you watch a lot from all those sources then cable TV is a good value for you and you should stick with it.

nikki24 2014-10-17 09:14 AM

It will be great if HBO give option to watch tv shows when ever we want just like some dth operators or paid shows

ExDilbert 2014-10-17 12:30 PM

For something like this to be affordable, a service like Hulu is required in order to bring total cost down. Programming dilution is the main issue. With so many networks and specialty stations, it can easily be as expensive as subscribing to a cable or satellite BDU. That's because dilution causes popular shows to be spread many individual stations. US networks have at least one sister station that is cable only and airs different content. The situation is just as bad in Canada. That could be alleviated somewhat if CBS, for example, decided to include shows from its other holdings. Those include CBS Sports, Showtime, the CW (50% share) and Eleven (Australia.) At $5.99 each, the cost become prohibitive. At $5.99 inclusive, the cost becomes more reasonable.

expressmoria 2014-10-17 01:01 PM


Originally Posted by LONSat (Post 2311841)
ABC 5.99
CBS 5.99 they are setting the initial price
NBC 5.99
FOX 5.99
CW 4.99 discounted as it is not as popular
PBS 4.99 as above
HBO 15.00
Sports 15.00 to 25.00 per month
Others x.xx

Total 63.00 to $73.00+

I am not sure I am ready to pay for streaming offered by the major American networks.
Most of the shows and sports being broadcast are sim-subed by the Canadian networks and depending where you live an OTA antenna may be able to pull their signals for free into your home (excludes first time acquisition costs associated with a proper OTA set-up).
Specialty sports channels streams like TSN, Sportsnet, ESPN etc. may be required for those currently watching on cable.

Also, the costs need to factor for a reliable high speed internet connection (30Mbps or higher download speed) with unlimited quota that probably costs $70 per month as a stand alone service.

ExDilbert 2014-10-17 01:11 PM

I agree, an internet HBO subscription is worthwhile in the absence of a cable or satellite TV subscription. Otherwise, the value is dubious. In the US, the value of a subscription to OTA network content is highly questionable. That's due to the good coverage by OTA networks there, even in small markets. In Canada, it's a different matter due to the lack of decent network OTA coverage outside of a few large metropolitan areas. Many cities and less populated areas in Canada have limited access to OTA or none at all.

Phage 2014-10-18 09:17 AM

I'd rather pay $50 - $60 for only the stuff I want, and not $100+ to subsidize the other stuff I'm not interested in.

bev fan 2014-10-18 07:42 PM

I would never pay $5.99 for for any of those channels because I do not watch them that much and the price is just too high for something that could be received for free.

ExDilbert 2014-10-19 12:39 AM


I'd rather pay $50 - $60 for only the stuff I want, and not $100+ to subsidize the other stuff I'm not interested in.
The problem is that distributors will find a way to make consumers pay $100+ no matter how it is obtained. OTT services are actually forcing the price of TV programming to increase. For example, CBS typically costs about $1 as part of a cable package. As an OTT service, it costs $6 plus the cost of delivery. That's actually pretty typical when the cost of OTT services are compared to cable TV packages. Even if 5 out of 6 channels in a cable package are unwanted, it becomes a break even proposition compared to purchasing OTT services for the same content.

Another issue with OTT services is that cable and phone companies are using things like data caps and speed tiers to keep their revenue streams in the $100+ range. If they don't get it by selling conventional TV or telephone services, they are taking it by inflating prices for data services. Instead of paying $100+ for cable TV. consumers are now being made to pay close to $100 for internet service + the cost of OTT services.

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