Skip to main content

HBO breaks free of cable, will offer online-only subscriptions in 2015

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Just when it looked like the roof might be caving in for those looking to ditch the traditional cable paradigm, HBO went and blew the whole roof right off the building. Speaking today before an investment meeting for HBO’s parent company, Time Warner, HBO CEO Richard Plepler announced that HBO Go will be offered without the need for a pay TV subscription starting next year.

Calling for the removal of “all barriers,” Plepler said the decision came as a means to pursue customers from the current tide of more than 10 million broadband-only homes, a number which is only projected to rise in the future.

“This is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped.” Plepler told the investors.

“So, in 2015, we will launch a standalone, over-the-top, 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.”

As more content producers move to accommodate cord cutters, their number is likely to increase even faster, as cutting cable requires less and less of a sacrifice.

But not all of the new options will save consumers money. Sony’s proposed standalone TV service, which was hoped to be a leaner, more affordable option than cable, was recently rumored to cost as much as $80, with a heavy selection of content that paints the service as little more than a cable subscription delivered through the Internet.

Plepler did not address pricing for next year’s standalone HBO Go subscriptions, but adding HBO to a cable subscription currently costs between $15 and $20, depending on your provider.

While providers like Sony and Dish Network foresee cord cutters subscribing to standalone online TV services from a single provider, we may instead see viewers cobbling together their favorite content from multiple providers, such as Netflix, sports apps like the forthcoming NBA app from ESPN, and now, HBO Go.

Editors' Recommendations

Ryan Waniata
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ryan Waniata is a multi-year veteran of the digital media industry, a lover of all things tech, audio, and TV, and a…
Digital Trends Live: COVID-19 mobility reports, iPhone SE, HBO streams for free
digital trends live episode 351 34764 63016 iphone se 2 l

On this episode of Digital Trends Live, host Greg Nibler discusses the top tech stories of the day, including Google’s COVID-19 mobility reports, the new iPhone SE, the SpaceX SN3 Starship, HBO's free streaming offer, and more.
Rebecca Black

It's Friday, so who better to talk to than singer Rebecca Black, who became famous in 2011 for her song and video "Friday." She talks to Nibler about her journey from being bullied for years to emerging stronger on the other side by becoming an activist and singer/songwriter.

Read more
NFL, NBA offer free subscriptions as coronavirus cancels live sports
Patrick Mahomes holds his arms up.

Sports have shut down indefinitely, courtesy of the coronavirus, and the absence of one of America’s most revered pastimes has been profound. On Wednesday, March 18, the NFL and the NBA both announced ways to help fill the void.

The NFL will offer complimentary access to NFL Game Pass, a digital streaming product of the league, which will allow fans to rewatch football games and moments from the past. The platform will be offered free of charge until May 31 for fans residing in the U.S. and will be free starting Thursday through July 31 for fans outside the U.S. and Canada.

Read more
HBO Go and HBO Now vs. Disney+: Which one should you get?
character inspiration real tony soprano the sopranos hbo

Disney+ is like the HBO of old. It’s a great place to find some of the best movies ever made, as well as a small selection of top-tier original series. HBO is, well, HBO, a premium cable channel with a streaming component that keeps cranking out hit after hit after hit. Both generate tons of buzz. Both are worth your money.

Still, there’s not enough time to watch everything, and not every streaming service will fit your budget. It’s painful, but something has to give. Oh, just because the choice between HBO and Disney+ isn’t hard enough already -- don’t forget, HBO Max is still waiting in the wings.
Disney+ is the new online repository for everything that Disney owns. That is, quite simply, a lot. Naturally, Disney+ has all of Disney’s classic animated features, its family-oriented live-action films, its vintage cartoon shorts, and a whole bunch of Disney Channel original series and movies, but thanks to corporate synergy it’s also the new, exclusive home for the Star Wars movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, The Simpsons, Pixar, and plenty more.

Read more