HBO Now launching only on Apple devices; Apple TV price cut to $69

By Jim O'Neill on Mar 09 2015 at 10:30 AM
HBO Now launching only on Apple devices; Apple TV price cut to $69

HBO's new over-the-top service, HBO Now, will deploy just in time for this season’s debut of “Game of Thrones,” and, said CEO Richard Plepler, the service initially will be available only on Apple devices.

Plepler, at Apple’s press event Monday, said the service will launch on Apple in time for GoT's April 12 opener, and will cost $14.99 a month, about the same as it does on most pay-TV services. Apple will have an exclusive on the streamer for three months.

“We are thrilled to be here this morning to announce our standalone streaming service HBO NOW and we couldn’t be prouder that Apple is our exclusive partner at launch,” Plepler said. “When you subscribe to HBO NOW you will have access to all our acclaimed original programming -- past, present and future -- as well as our unmatched lineup of Hollywood blockbusters.  All you need to get HBO NOW is a broadband connection and an Apple device.”

The exclusive deployment on Apple devices is a big differentiator for the hardware maker.

“Consumption is moving away from the PC towards other forms of connected devices (notably devices that connect to the TV and tablets). In this context, Apple’s exclusivity is a big deal as, at least for the moment, it means that there is a clear point of differentiation for Apple devices,” said Dan Cryan, director of broadband analysis for IHS Technology. “However, the lesson from Netflix is that to grow a digital customer base you have to reach consumers on the devices where they choose to consume content. Consequently we don't expect this exclusivity to remain over the long term, unless HBO is heavily compensated.”

In its news release, Time Warner said HBO Now would be available on iOS devices and PCs. Does that mean HBO’s pay-TV partners could make HBO Now available via their TV Everywhere services. That’s something to be sorted out in the coming weeks.

As to Apple, CEO Tim Cook, during the event, announced Apple TV, its three-year-old digital streaming device will be reduced to $69 from $99, a 30 price reduction.

That move is coming from two fronts.

On the one hand, Apple likely is looking to hitch a ride on HBO Now’s deployment.

On the other, Apple TV is growing a little long in the tooth and hasn’t been upgraded substantially for a couple of years. While the lower piece puts Apple TV in line with Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, as well as a bringing it closer to Google’s Chromecast, it also may be an effort to clear the shelves for a new Apple TV that has long been rumored to be on the way.

Stay tuned.

Follow me on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn

READ THESE NEXT

SVOD, Operators, Netflix
Should European operators worry about cord cutting as Amazon, Netflix push deeper into their market? Absolutely
May 25 2017 8:15 AM

When the Big Two come to play in your backyard, it’s time to up your game.

Netflix and Amazon have launched a push into Europe that will likely result in some bad nights of sleep for operators, pay-TV channels and broadcasters looking themselves to do more business over the top.

Live Streaming, SVOD, AVOD
Live-linear OTT viewing to exceed traditional TV by 2020
Apr 20 2017 12:30 PM

Just in time for the annual NAB Show, a new report has surfaced with a forecast that’s sure to prompt an antacid surge among broadcast execs in Las Vegas next week: OTT viewership worldwide will outnumber traditional TV viewership before the end of the decade.

Live Streaming, Sports, SVOD
Live sports are looking online to revive flagging interest – will it work?
Apr 20 2017 10:45 AM

Live sports – once seen as the sure bet for TV ratings – have suddenly gone cold with fans. Attendance at events is down and the bigger money maker, TV ratings, also continue to decline.

For SVOD, churn much less of a threat than for pay TV
SVOD, Pay TV
For SVOD, churn much less of a threat than for pay TV
Feb 06 2017 8:15 AM

OTT video viewers may be just about as fickle as traditional TV viewers, with roughly 19% churning some of their SVOD services during the past 12 months, which is down from 20% a year ago, according to a new report.