HBO to Introduce Standalone Web-Only Subscriptions in 2015

Popular premium cable channel HBO has announced plans to introduce a web-only subscription service designed for cable cutters in the coming months. According to HBO CEO Richard Plepler, who spoke at an investor presentation (via Re/code), the company will begin offering standalone HBO service that does not require a cable subscription in 2015.

"That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.

"So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, 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."

HBO's decision to offer a standalone subscription is a major victory for cord cutters and the first major shift away from cable-only access to premium content. Cable companies like Time Warner and Comcast have been highly resistant to piecemeal pricing and companies like HBO have been reluctant to shift away from traditional cable delivery models in order to avoid upsetting existing revenue streams.

apple_tv_splash_2014
The television industry's reluctance to shift to a new content delivery model that strays away from cable has long been rumored to be the major reason why Apple has been unable to deliver the revolutionary television experience that it originally envisioned.

Early rumors suggested Apple was aiming for an a la carte subscription television service that would replace existing cable packages, but the company eventually scaled back on its TV ambitions and is now said to be working with cable companies on a deal that would see it providing cable content overlaid with an Apple TV-style interface.

According to Plepler, HBO will work with "current partners" on its upcoming standalone service, which possibly suggests that the web-only version may allow Apple TV users to access HBO content on their set-top boxes without a cable subscription, but details on the product are scarce at this time.

It is not clear if the standalone service will be the same as the service provided to cable subscribers who opt for HBO, but presumably, the deal will give those who purchase the web-only subscription access to the company's most popular shows like "Game of Thrones" and "True Detective."

Tag: HBO

Top Rated Comments

farewelwilliams Avatar
106 months ago
in about 5 years:

"Man, I have to subscribe to HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC, Netflix, Comedy Central, etc...I wish I can just subscribe to all content at one low, discounted monthly rate."
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Patriot24 Avatar
106 months ago
Too true.

We don't want to buy music a la carte. We want a monthly subscription to get all content at one price.
Then the opposite.. We don't want to subscribe to cable. We want to buy our channels a la carte.

This is almost as confusing to me as the consumer obsession of wanting phones to be bigger and tablets smaller.
I don't think the issue is A La Carte vs. Subscription. Most people would be content with cable subscriptions if they offered more realistic tiers or options where the consumer could get the channels they want without paying for extraneous channels. Currently, everyone ends up paying into a big bucket for content that they may not care about or watch.

Imagine a service where you pay $10/month for connection and local channels. $20/month gets you any 15 channels of your choosing. HBO is then a la carte for $5.

$35 per month for just the content I want to watch without being forced into paying $15/month to get one channel that is included in a "pack" with 50 others that I don't want. Done deal.

Of course, you could have more tiers of 30, 50, 75, 100 channels to sell at various price points. The ability to choose what channels/shows/content you actually want is the key.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arian19 Avatar
106 months ago
in about 5 years:

"Man, I have to subscribe to HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC, Netflix, Comedy Central, etc...I wish I can just subscribe to all content at one low, discounted monthly rate."
I don't know if this is correct. HBO is already an add-on subscription service, however if you wanted it, you MUST have at least basic cable. Which is kind of backwards. All this does, is not require that you have basic cable.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Renzatic Avatar
106 months ago
in about 5 years:

"Man, I have to subscribe to HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC, Netflix, Comedy Central, etc...I wish I can just subscribe to all content at one low, discounted monthly rate."

This is pretty much true. And you know what the best solution is?

...offer both. That way, people who want a'la carte get a'la carte, and people who want stick with the more traditional lump TV package can still get it.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
darkslide29 Avatar
106 months ago
in about 5 years:

"Man, I have to subscribe to HBO, Showtime, FX, AMC, Netflix, Comedy Central, etc...I wish I can just subscribe to all content at one low, discounted monthly rate."
Too true.

We don't want to buy music a la carte. We want a monthly subscription to get all content at one price.
Then the opposite.. We don't want to subscribe to cable. We want to buy our channels a la carte.

This is almost as confusing to me as the consumer obsession of wanting phones to be bigger and tablets smaller.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arian19 Avatar
106 months ago
This should have happened a long time ago... but nice to see it happen regardless
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Right now we're tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and now that the shopping holiday is officially here we're seeing even more solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner ...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of...
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday this week, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues today with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a...
airpods pro 2

Apple Engineer Addresses Lack of Lossless Support on New AirPods Pro

Friday November 25, 2022 2:58 am PST by
An Apple engineer has addressed the lack of lossless audio support in the second-generation AirPods Pro in a new interview. Current Bluetooth technology in the AirPods lineup means that Apple's audio products do not support Apple Music Lossless audio. Apple has previously hinted that it may develop its own codec and connectivity standard that builds on AirPlay and supports higher quality...
maxresdefault

Nothing Phone 1 Displays AirPods Battery Level After Latest OS Update

Friday November 25, 2022 3:33 am PST by
Nothing Phone 1 users today began receiving the Nothing OS 1.1.7 update, which adds support for displaying the battery percentage of connected AirPods, amongst other improvements and bug fixes. If you own a Nothing Phone 1, you can check for the OTA update by going to Settings -> System -> System updates. Bear in mind that as support for displaying AirPods battery level is still an...
new airpods lineup black friday

Best Black Friday AirPods Deals Still Available

Tuesday November 22, 2022 10:01 am PST by
Although we've been tracking Black Friday deals for a few weeks now, the shopping holiday is officially kicking off this week and we're highlighting the best sales for each of Apple's product lines. In this article, you'll find the best Black Friday sales on AirPods 2, AirPods 3, AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and AirPods Max. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors....
Manchester United flag

No, Apple Isn't Planning to Buy Manchester United

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:19 pm PST by
Apple is not currently planning to purchase Premier League club Manchester United, according to a source familiar with the matter. A report earlier today from British tabloid The Daily Star claimed that Apple had expressed an interest in buying Manchester United for around $7 billion, but our source with direct knowledge of the situation said the report is false. Manchester United has...