After years of hints and pleas from fans HBO has finally announced that it will offer an HBO Go standalone service, outside of the bloated cable bill. CEO Richard Pleper said that in 2015 HBO will sell a “digital version” that won’t require a pay TV subscription.
It’s unclear at this point what that “version” will look it. It’s pretty unlikely that it will include the entire HBO Go library of original shows and movies, for this reason:
Too many people would ditch cable for online-only HBO. Plepler didn’t provide any additional information, including how much this service might cost.
With the rise of Netflix as a serious competitor, HBO has been inching away from cable. In certain areas, various Internet providers offer “Internet Plus” packages that offer an Internet plus HBO GO deal. Perhaps the “digital version” available in 2015 will be an expansion of these deals. Sources tell Re/Code that HBO might work with Amazon or Hulu to deliver its content. HBO already has a distribution deal with Netflix competitor Amazon, offering a limited supply of its shows.
HBO and parent company Time Warner have, up until this point, been resistant to putting content online because the current setup, in which people pay for a cable package and then an addition $10-$20 a month for HBO, has been very lucrative and safe. The move is risky for HBO and cable, but something consumers have wanted for a very long time.