HBO Will Launch Stand-Alone Online Service In 2015

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HBO’s original programming (including “Game of Thrones”) has been among the most pirated shows on TV for years. Clearly there’s an appetite for HBO that goes far beyond the subscribers that currently pay for it through cable.

Today, HBO took a major step forward to expand its reach beyond cable. Via Deadline, HBO announced that it will launch a stand-alone version of HBO Go in 2015 that will not require a cable subscription. Potentially, this will allow HBO a less expensive option to consumers who don’t want to subscribe to HBO through cable.

HBO CEO Richard Plepler told the press that “there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO, and “we will use all measures to go after them,”

This marks the first time one of the premium cable networks has sidestepped the cable industry to sell itself directly to the consumers. Showtime and STARZ will probably be next, if HBO’s gambit is successful.

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It’s currently unknown how the cable industry will react to HBO’s announcement. HBO has been one of the big draws for the cable industry’s premium lineup. This is bound to affect demand for HBO on cable if customers have a cheaper option online. I wouldn’t be surprised if the cable providers find some way to retaliate at HBO for sidestepping them.

It should be noted that Rupert Murdoch’s recent attempt to buy Time Warner was reportedly motivated by his desire to get his hands on HBO and expand its presence as a streaming service. This announcement by Time Warner and HBO could be the company’s way of keeping the wolves from the door after Murdoch’s bid was rejected.