Yesterday, Apple revealed that HBO Now, the premium content company’s cable-plan free media service, would launch exclusively on Apple products – specifically the Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. And according to a new post on Re/code today, the deal between Apple and HBO has been in the works for the better part of a year.
The post explains that HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler, who appeared on Apple’s stage yesterday, called Cupertino last spring about bringing HBO to Apple’s content offerings. When Apple answered in the affirmative, the two companies were off to the races to hammer out a deal that worked for both of them.
The post adds that the exclusivity period with Apple will end after the first three months, starting this April. Meanwhile, during that time Apple will help HBO learn the ropes of selling to customers without a cable company intermediary.
In the end, the deal represents a huge step in the right direction for content being connected with consumers in a more direct way. By unbundling itself from cable subscriptions, HBO has opened the door for other networks to do the same, potentially damaging the stranglehold cable companies have had over their customers. That said, it may be a moot point, since most cable companies also double as ISPs – meaning that they might offer HBO Now as part of a bundle deal with higher-priced broadband plans.
Even still, it’s an interesting change and could have far reaching effects on the way people get their content. The revolution starts next month – just in time for Game of Thrones.