TV Finally coming Over the Top : HBO NOW…
Can OTT service offer premium content and free consumers from the clutches of cable and satellite service providers? Come next month and big daddy of premium content – HBO is coming straight over the top to your connected Apple device. HBO NOW has all the ingredients in making of successful offering – a robust multi-platform content delivery ecosystem, popular content and great devices. The service has the potential to change Pay TV market dynamics and for lot of reasons HBO is the one that could bring such a change. HBO unlike most other networks had always been premium and subscription based and secondly it has the content library to keep subscribers coming back for more. A win-win for Time Warner and Apple as the service goes live in April 2015, just in time for the fifth season of “Game of Thrones.”
What is HBO NOW
HBO NOW is a standalone premium streaming service for instant access to best of HBO programming bringing every episode of every season at click of a button. The service will be available on Apple devices (25 million+ Apple TVs, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch). Users can download HBO NOW app from app Store and start streaming shows, documentaries, comedy specials, sports, and movies anywhere and at anytime of day or night. Apart from Apple, the service will also be available through Cablevision Optimum broadband.
HBO NOW is not same as HBO GO
While HBO GO and HBO NOW are both over the top video streaming services for all past, present and future HBO content, HBO GO remains a subscription linked service while HBO NOW is no tags attached standalone service without cable subscription to the HBO. Users will be able to subscribe to HBO NOW from an iOS device without cable or satellite subscription.
Win-Win for Apple and Time Warner
HBO NOW streaming service is exclusive to Apple on launch for a three month window and can help Apple in setting the stage for its future Virtual MSO ecosystem while adding mojo to falling Apple TV sales. On the other hand the service provides a “direct to consumer” channel for Time Warner to tap large subscriber base while keeping intact its pricing power and TV provider contracts closely grounded.
Is the Price Right?
At $15 a month, HBO NOW is not an in-expensive service and is not in direct comparison to $8 -$12 over the top Netflix counterpart. Although there are parallels being drawn between Netflix and HBO NOW, they do not qualify to be compared under the same lens. While the service poses risk to its existing relationships with providers, it has the potential to build significant new business opportunities. How HBO NOW lures generation of cords nevers is still to be seen.
What are your Thoughts?
HBO has over 35 million US subscribers and reaches more than 115 million worldwide subscribers, it will be interesting how the new service influences its existing cable subscription base. HBO NOW is a welcome change and a significant step in breaking away from tightly coupled contracts regime and can usher more such service offerings from content owners. What are your thoughts?
- Is HBO NOW the first critical piece in the larger Apple TV jigsaw to bring an À la carte TV service to households?
- Does OTA, Netflix and HBO NOW offer the new “all you can watch” content bundle for cord nevers ?
- How soon will HBO NOW become a standard offering from other service providers? Will the service become available on other platforms like Roku, Amazon Fire and Chromecast?