For cord-cutters in the U.S. who only last year got the option to watch HBO without a cable subscription, it may seem that the company is inextricably tied to cable and satellite providers. That isn’t the case worldwide, however, and soon in Spain, the only way customers will be able to watch the channel’s content is online.
HBO is planning to start a standalone streaming service similar to HBO Now in Spain later this year, Bloomberg reports. That may sound familiar, but where it gets more interesting is that the company has no plans to renew its licensing deals with cable providers once they expire.
The company is very clear about the reasons behind the switch to an Internet-only option. “We follow the money,” CEO Richard Plepler said in an interview. “We’re making a determination of where we think the most profits lie.”
Spain is a perfect candidate for an Internet-only strategy. It already has a comparatively low number of cable subscribers, and high-speed Internet is widely available. This has already led to a high number of cord-cutters, and HBO offering its content online will help to combat piracy.
This isn’t exactly new for HBO. Since 2012 it has offered a Web-only channel called HBO Nordic in Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. In addition to HBO programming, the channel also carries programming from AMC, Showtime, and Starz. The company also brought an offering similar to HBO Now to Columbia last year, and plans to expand to other countries in Latin America.
This also comes shortly after Netflix’s massive expansion, which sees the streaming service expanding to 130 new countries worldwide. While making its own move in just one country may sound small, HBO is looking at bringing similar services to other countries.
“Spain is not the first and Spain is not the last,” HBO president of international and content distribution Simon Sutton said.
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