HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler has revealed that the premium cable channel will be offering a standalone streaming package in 2015, as the company begins a slow and cautious move towards severing ties with cable companies.
Previously, the only way to obtain HBO and its award winning stable of hit TV shows was to subscribe to it as an add-on channel as part of an existing cable or satellite package. This arrangement allows HBO to maintain its premium status and its lucrative deals with cable companies, but strikes a sour note with so called "chord-cutters", those that rely on Internet "over-the-top" services, such as Netflix and Hulu, for their entertainment needs.
With increasing pressure on HBO to offer a standalone streaming product, HBO's Plepler finally revealed that the company will start offering such a product some time in 2015. "It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO," said Plepler.
Reports have suggested that HBO's streaming offering will be available at $15 per month, pricier than Netflix's offering, but maintains HBO's status as a premium package.
The move may also have a positive impact on piracy, with HBO's current cable package only offering being blamed for the high piracy rates of its shows, as users are reluctant or unable to subscribe to a complete cable or satellite package to access HBO.
While Netflix stocks reacted negatively to the news, HBO's streaming service should offer little competition to Netflix's offering, as these networks have very little overlap in terms of content. None of HBO's show are available on Netflix, and HBO's streaming service will most likely not have the wide range of programming that is currently available on Netflix. The move may even help Netflix, as it's main rival, Amazon Prime, will lose one of its major advantage of making available older HBO shows for its subscribers.