The walls are starting to crumble around cable’s content stronghold: today HBO announced that it’ll begin offering a stand-alone streaming service for its content that users can enjoy without having to have a cable subscription.
The news broke today at a Time Warner Inc. Investor meeting, at which HBO’s chairman and CEO Richard Plepler announced the coming service. The reason for the new service, he said, is due to the fact that there are “ten million broadband-only homes,” a number that they expect to swell in the coming years.
“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-to, 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.”
The news comes after years of people complaining that the only way to get their Game of Thrones fix without having to maintain an expensive cable plan is through piracy. Being able to simply subscribe to HBO’s content will be a huge win for the premium cable network.
One of the main reasons that HBO never offered the option for users to access its content without a cable subscription likely had plenty to do with long-standing contracts between HBO and cable providers that would prevent such an option. Over the years, however, cable’s grip on users as the only place to go for good content has loosened considerably. With options like Netflix and Amazon Prime – not to mention Hulu and HD antennas – the need for cable has diminished for many…though some still find that the other options aren’t adequate to completely cut the cord just yet.
No word just yet on how much the scheme will cost, but no matter what HBO charges for the new service, it’s got to be cheaper than a cable plan. Also not discussed yet is the projected launch date of the service. Hopefully we’ll learn more soon, but if you were wondering how you’d catch up on True Detective next year without resorting to piracy, you’ve got your answer.