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'HBO' Articles

AT&T and Warner Media Leadership Outline Changes Coming to HBO Over the Next Year

On June 19, former AT&T executive and new chief executive of Warner Media John Stankey spoke to a group of HBO employees about changes coming to the premium cable company in the near future. The discussion was held in the wake of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, which owns HBO, and also included HBO's chief executive officer Richard Plepler. The telecommunications company previously stated that it would take a "hands-off approach" to running HBO, but The New York Times this weekend reported on Stankey's speech and it sounds like that might not be the case. According to a video of the discussion, Stankey explained Warner Media's intent to align HBO more alongside streaming companies like Netflix in order to increase its subscriber base, although he refrained from referencing Netflix by name. This means creating more content that releases at a faster pace, in comparison to HBO's current stable of limited Sunday night-focused shows. According to Stankey, the goal is to increase the hours per day viewers watch HBO, which is currently less than rivals like Netflix and Hulu because of HBO's smaller catalog. “We need hours a day,” Mr. Stankey said, referring to the time viewers spend watching HBO programs. “It’s not hours a week, and it’s not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes.” Continuing this thread, Stankey specifically stated that more hours of user engagement means that Warner Media can "get more data and information" to monetize through advertisements and new

HBO's Interactive TV Show App 'Mosaic' Launches Today for iOS and tvOS

Last month, HBO announced a new project called "Mosaic," a murder-mystery TV show that allows you to interact with and discover branching paths based on characters you choose to follow. This interactive version of Mosaic has now arrived in the form of an app for iOS and tvOS, and in 2018 a traditional, linear version of the story will debut on HBO. HBO will air the plot line that creators Ed Solomon and Steven Soderbergh envision for the series, which viewers can compare with their own versions. The free app allows you to choose from various viewing orders, character decisions, and branching information options over the course of a 7.5-hour mini series, which stars Sharon Stone, Garrett Hedlund, Beau Bridges, Paul Reubens, and more. "Mosaic" won't just be a one-off series, with Soderbergh telling TechCrunch that he has made two more "made-for-Mosaic" shows, which will be coming after this first series launches. Soderbergh referred to the app as an "open source format" that will be available to other creatives in the future. Soderbergh says “I looked at this as sort of an open source format that other fimmakesrs can come in and push.” Beyond the next two Mosaic titles he’s making, it’s unclear if other creators will launch their own separate apps based on the Mosaic tech, or if today’s app will become a hub for viewing or even buying this branching narrative content. Soderbergh explained that the outcome of the story doesn't change because of choices you make, but that the app is more focused on what information you have -- or lack -- based on the branches you've

HBO Announces iOS App-Based TV Show 'Mosaic' With Branching Narrative and Multiple Endings

HBO recently announced a new TV project in the works by director Steven Soderbergh called "Mosaic." The show will air as a six-part linear narrative in early 2018, but in addition to the traditional distribution, HBO is launching an app where viewers can watch the show, make decisions, and help shape the outcome of certain events (via The Verge). The Mosaic iOS app will be available to download for free beginning in November, and it will let viewers choose what point of view they want to follow the story, effectively building their own experience from material written and directed by Ed Solomon and Soderbergh, respectively. According to HBO, each choice "builds upon one another," leading to different versions of the same scene, and different endings. In January 2018, the linear version of Mosaic will air on HBO and the network said that this will allow viewers to compare their own version of the story with Soderbergh's narrative. “MOSAIC is a branching narrative piece. While branching narratives have been around forever, technology now allows, I hope, for a more elegant, intuitive form of engagement than used to be possible. Also, we weren’t reverse engineering the story to fit an existing piece of technology; the story was being created in lockstep with the technical team. The fluidity of that relationship made me feel comfortable because I wanted it to be a simple, intuitive experience. I didn’t want moments where you are making a decision to feel like interruptions.” In both mediums, the show will star Sharon Stone, Garrett Hedlund, Beau Bridges, Paul

AT&T Unlimited Plus Data Plan Now Includes Free HBO Subscription

Thanks to AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, customers on the network's Unlimited Plus data plan will now have the chance to watch HBO programming at no additional cost. Beginning tomorrow, April 6, customers on Unlimited Plus data plans who already subscribe to HBO through AT&T video services like DirecTV, DirecTV Now, or U-Verse TV, will no longer have to pay for the premium channel. For the same customers on Unlimited Plus and one of AT&T's video services who don't have HBO, they'll be able to automatically receive access to the premium network as well. Lastly, for cord-cutters without a cable package who subscribe to Unlimited Plus, AT&T is offering HBO content either through DirecTV Now or HBO GO apps. Pricing on Unlimited Plus remains the same at $90/month for one line and $145/month for two lines, with additional lines added at the cost of $20 per new line. Unlimited data plans have come back in full force this year, with new options from all four major carriers launching within a week of one another. “People who want the best in entertainment want HBO. This latest unlimited wireless plan shows AT&T continuing to innovate and give customers what they desire,” said Bernadette Aulestia, executive vice president of Global Distribution, HBO. “When consumers see HBO as part of an entertainment package, they know they are getting the valued benefit of some of the greatest original programming and most recent Hollywood movies.” AT&T is also offering Unlimited Plus users a $25 monthly video credit that can be used on its range of video services as long as they

Siri Responds to Most Burning Question Asked by 'Game of Thrones' Fans

The first episode of the long-awaited season six of HBO series Game of Thrones premiered in Los Angeles over the weekend, and Siri is now giving cheeky responses to users who ask the personal assistant whether one of its principal characters, Jon Snow, has truly left this mortal coil. Asking Siri, 'Is Jon Snow dead?' returns a number of possible responses, including: Well, you know what they say to Death… Not today! But why would tomorrow be any better? Anyway, I'm not exactly sure. 'Dead is dead'. Or is it 'What's dead may never die'? No, wait, 'Death is so terribly final'? I give up. I don't know. I just hope someone is setting up doggie daycare for Ghost. Game of Thrones fans can also bide their time waiting for the new season to hit TV screens by asking Siri 'Is winter coming?', to which the response 'Hodor!' may or may not be forthcoming. Previous seasons of the hugely popular Game of Thrones series are available to watch via the HBO GO app for those with a subscription. HBO GO is a universal app that can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link] Siri is expected to make its long-anticipated debut on Mac in OS X 10.12 later this year.

Apple Shows Interest in Buying Time Warner Assets for Streaming TV Service

Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes reportedly told investors on Monday that he would entertain a sale of the media company, and Apple is a possible suitor, according to the New York Post. AT&T, which owns DirecTV, and Fox are also said to have shown interest.Eddy Cue, one of Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook’s top lieutenants, in charge of content deals, has been keeping tabs on proceedings at Time Warner, a source close to Apple said.Time Warner owns a large number of assets that could lay the foundation for Apple's much-rumored streaming TV service, including CNN, HBO, TBS, TNT, NBA TV, Cartoon Network and its Warner Bros. division. A deal could allow Apple to offer a skinny bundle of channels airing popular TV shows for all ages like Adventure Time, Game of Thrones, Sesame Street, Silicon Valley and Veep. Apple's streaming TV service has reportedly been placed on hold due to its difficulties in securing deals with content owners, but striking a deal with Time Warner would allow the company to reconsider offering a skinny bundle of channels through a Netflix-like service for Apple TV, Mac, iPad, iPhone and other devices. Apple has previously been in talks with CBS, ABC, Fox, Disney, Viacom, Discovery and others about launching a web-based streaming service that would bundle approximately 25 channels for $30 to $40 per month, but content owners have been reluctant to give up control of the living room up to this point. For now, fourth-generation Apple TV owners can stream select on-demand content from tvOS apps like ABC News, CNNgo, Fox NOW, HBO NOW, MLB.TV Premium, NBC

HBO CEO: We Partnered With Apple for HBO NOW Based on HBO GO Popularity

Apple and HBO recently inked a deal that will see Apple becoming the exclusive launch partner for HBO's upcoming "HBO Now" web-based streaming service, and in an interview with CNBC, HBO CEO Richard Plepler explained why the company chose to partner Apple. According to Plepler, the main reason why HBO opted to team up with Apple was due to the success of its existing cable-based service, HBO GO. 60 percent of HBO GO traffic comes from Apple devices, including the Apple TV, Macs, and the iPhone and the iPad. HBO GO apps have been available on iOS devices since 2011 and the service has been available on the Apple TV since 2013. Plepler also pointed towards the popularity of Apple devices as a deciding factor. Well, listen. They're obviously an extraordinary company with a wide range of devices, and those devices are proliferating throughout the consumer base. But also, as we look at HBO GO, which is our streaming service tethered to distributors, we saw about 60 percent usage on Apple devices so it made perfect sense for us to work with Apple introducing HBO Now.HBO Now differs from HBO GO because it does not require a cable subscription for access. Instead, all of HBO's content, including TV shows, movies, documentaries, and more, is available to customers for $14.99 per month. Launching in time for the Game of Thrones premiere in April, HBO NOW will be exclusively available on the Apple TV and Apple devices for the first three months of its life. Once that three month period has expired, HBO will bring the service to other platforms as well. Plepler expects HBO

HBO and Apple Announce 'HBO Now' Exclusively for Apple TV and iOS Devices

Today at Apple's special media event, HBO CEO Richard Plepler took the stage with Apple CEO Tim Cook to announce HBO Now, HBO's new standalone streaming service. The announcement comes just under a week after it was first reported. The new service is exclusive for Apple TV and other Apple devices for $14.99 a month. The service will be ready in time for the series premiere of HBO hit show Game of Thrones on April 12, and users who sign up for the service in April will receive the first month of HBO Now for free. HBO Now will feature all of HBO's original content, past and present, as well as its entire movie catalog. It appears to available only for customers in the United States, and, according to John Paczkowski, will be exclusive to Apple devices for three

HBO and Apple in Talks for $15/Month Apple TV Streaming Service Launching in April

HBO is in talks with Apple over a partnership that would see its upcoming standalone web-only subscription television package available on the Apple TV, reports Michael Learmonth, writing for International Business Times. CNBC has also confirmed that Apple and HBO are in talks in the video tweet posted below. BREAKING: Sources tell @JBoorstin that Apple & HBO are in talks for Apple TV to be a launch partner for 'HBO Now'. https://t.co/hQd9AzA3Xr— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) March 4, 2015 Apple could potentially be one of HBO's launch partners for its web-only service, which may be called "HBO Now." News of HBO's web-based subscription service first surfaced in October of 2014, after HBO CEO Richard Plepler shared the company's plans at an investor presentation. The service, aimed at cable cutters, will allow users to access HBO content without a cable subscription for a set monthly fee. With the launch of a cable-free subscription service, HBO will become the first major premium content provider to cease limiting its television and movie offerings to cable subscribers. According to Learmonth, HBO's web-only subscription will launch in April alongside the premiere of the fifth season of Game of Thrones, which takes place on April 12. The service is said to cost $15 per month, which is roughly how much it costs to subscribe to HBO through a cable company. A partnership with Apple would allow the service to be watched on the Apple TV, much like the existing version of HBO's service, HBO Go. HBO Go is available to all existing HBO subscribers on a variety of devices like

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. 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

HBO Moved Development In-House to Speed Apple TV Project

On Wednesday, Apple released a long awaited update that brought new channels to its Apple TV, including WatchESPN, Sky News, and HBO GO. HBO GO has been available on other platforms like the iPhone and iPad, Roku, and Xbox 360 for quite some time, but it was only in January that reports surfaced suggesting that Apple and HBO were in talks to bring HBO content directly to the Apple TV. In a post that includes an interview with HBO chief technology officer Otto Berkes, The Verge details some of the reasons why it took so long for HBO to get its content on Apple's set-top box. According to Berkes, the primary reason for the delay was the creation of the app itself, as it was developed entirely in-house. It is unclear if HBO used an existing SDK to create the app, but that the app was devised by HBO suggests that other companies may be able to create similar apps in the future.Nothing is more time consuming than writing all the code involved and encoding HBO's massive video library, said Otto Berkes, HBO's chief technology officer, in an exclusive interview with The Verge. He said “optimizing the compression formula to deliver the high-quality video to the lowest bandwidth” is a massive undertaking. Getting HBO Go on the Apple TV might have taken longer had HBO not begun to boost the number of engineers working at the company's new development center in Seattle. Apple TV was the first app that HBO created completely in-house, said Berkes, a former Microsoft executive who started at HBO two years ago. Prior to Apple TV, HBO teamed with third parties on its apps,

Apple Adds WatchESPN, HBO GO, Sky News, and More to Apple TV

Apple today announced a software update for its Apple TV set-top box adding new channels including WatchESPN and HBO GO. The update also brings live streaming of the UK's Sky News, as well as anime site Crunchyroll and music concert and documentary streaming service Qello.“HBO GO and WatchESPN are some of the most popular iOS apps and are sure to be huge hits on Apple TV,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We continue to offer Apple TV users great new programming options, combined with access to all of the incredible content they can purchase from the iTunes Store.” WatchESPN and HBO GO require that customers be subscribed to appropriate cable TV services, while Sky News offers free live streams and numerous video clips to users in the US, UK, and Ireland. Crunchyroll offers a free 7-day trial to its Anime service, with subscriptions priced at $6.99/month. A more extensive All-Access membership is available for $11.99/month. Qello offers a free 7-day trial to its service, with subscriptions priced at $4.99/month for unlimited access to its library of concerts and music documentaries. It was reported over a year ago that Apple was in talks to bring WatchESPN to the Apple TV, while claims of HBO GO talks surfaced earlier this year. The update arrives as Apple TV software version 5.3 and is available now for the second- and third-generation Apple TV. As part of its press release, Apple also disclosed new statistics on iTunes Store video usage, noting that users have purchased over a billion TV episodes and 380

HBO Updates iOS App with AirPlay Multitasking and Game of Thrones Interactive Features

HBO Go for iOS has been updated to version 2.1, most notably adding AirPlay multitasking support to allow video content from the HBO Go app to stream to the television while leaving the iPad or the iPhone free to operate other apps. The update also offers new interactive features for the channel's popular Game of Thrones series, which just had its season three debut last week. HBO Go offers users behind-the scenes videos, cast and crew commentary, and detailed set photos.-Includes AirPlay multitasking capability – other apps can be used while video continues to stream via AirPlay. -Enhancements to the interactive features experience for Game of Thrones -General performance enhancementsHBO Go is a universal app that can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link

HBO Now Allows Subscribers to Stream HBO Go to Apple TV using AirPlay

At today's AllThingsD Dive Into Media Conference, HBO's Eric Kessler announced that from this moment forward, HBO subscribers will be able to use AirPlay with the HBO Go app. "Our longterm goal for Go is to be on all devices all platforms," said Kessler. HBO Go is HBO's streaming service that allows subscribers to watch HBO content on PCs, tablets, and consoles. At this time, HBO Go is not available on the Apple TV, but an app is available for the iPad and the iPhone. With today's changes, iDevices are able to stream HBO Go content to the Apple TV using AirPlay, but the two companies are planning to bring a native HBO Go app to the Apple TV. "We will get on Apple TV as we've said all along," Kessler said. Currently, the Apple TV only supports streaming content from subscription apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus, but Apple has been making efforts to expand its content offerings.

Apple in Talks to Bring HBO Go to the Apple TV

Apple is in talks with HBO to bring that company's HBO Go video streaming service to the Apple TV, reports Bloomberg. HBO Go is a streaming service that allows HBO subscribers to watch HBO content on PCs, tablets, consoles, and other platforms.Bloomberg:Apple Inc. is in negotiations to start carrying Time Warner Inc.'s HBO Go application on Apple TV by mid-2013, according to two people familiar with the plans.Cable and satellite subscribers who pay for HBO will be able to watch more than 600 hours of films and television shows on Apple TV, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. Currently, Netflix and Hulu Plus are the only subscription service that Apple allows on its Apple TV box, while HBO Go is available on the iPhone and the iPad.There have been numerous rumors in recent years about Apple's plans for the television, but CEO Tim Cook has been cagey about details other than repeatedly saying that television is "an area of intense interest" for the

HBO Confirms Negotiations to Allow Fox and Universal to Participate in iCloud for Movies

Last week, we noted with the launch of the new Apple TV and iTunes in the Cloud for movies that Fox and Universal were not participating in the iCloud video streaming due to contractual obligations with HBO. At the time CNET indicated that the issue was a temporary one and that HBO and the affected studios would be working to address the holdup in the near future. The Wall Street Journal now reports that HBO is indeed working with Fox and Universal to loosen its restrictions on film distribution, with a spokesperson for HBO confirming the negotiations.HBO isn't planning to give up its exclusive windows, for which it pays hundreds of millions of dollars a year, and which allow it to beam movies to its online service HBO Go as well as to its traditional TV channels. But HBO is relaxing terms to let users of iCloud and other services send movies they already own to other devices during those windows, an HBO spokesman said. HBO agreed to loosen its arrangement with Warner Bros., which is working with iCloud, and also is in talks with Universal and Fox to do the same, the spokesman added.Sources at Fox suggest that the roadblock on iCloud will be lifted "as soon as within weeks", while Universal sources also indicate that a resolution is

HBO Shows Now Available in HD on iTunes

HBO has been a popular programming source for iTunes Store users since its debut three years ago due to the premium cable channel's highly-regarded original programming. As noticed by one MacRumors reader, the iTunes Store has just begun offering HD versions of a number of HBO shows, adding another option for those looking for higher-quality content. Among the shows now available in HD: Big Love, Bored to Death, Carnivale, Curb Your Enthusiasm (Season 7), Deadwood, Eastbound & Down, Entourage (Seasons 3–7), Flight of the Conchords (Season 2), The Life & Times of Tim, Hung, Rome, Six Feet Under (Seasons 3–5), The Sopranos, True Blood As with most HD content on the iTunes Store, episodes carry a $1.00 premium over their respective standard-definition versions. Most HBO content is priced at $3.99 HD and $2.99 SD, although some shows come in at $2.99 HD and $1.99 SD. The new HD offerings appear to be available in the United States and

HBO to Deliver Streaming Video to iPad

Bloomberg reports on the HBO's reluctance to license their shows to Netflix for online streaming, but reveals that iPad owners will still be able to access HBO content in the near future. Time Warner Inc.'s pay-television channel, home to shows including the "The Sopranos" and "True Blood," holds cable and Internet rights to films from Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox and Universal Pictures and is unlikely to make a deal with Netflix, HBO Co-President Eric Kessler said. Instead, HBO plans on making its shows and movies available online through its own HBO Go service. HBO Go is presently a streaming web service that offers 800 hours of HBO TV and Movie content to current subscribers at no additional cost. HBO Go will become available in the next 6 months for the Apple iPad and other mobile devices. HBO Go was described by some as a Netflix competitor when it launched in

HBO Releases Application for iPhone

HBO, the popular U.S. premium cable channel, yesterday announced the release of a new iPhone application [App Store, Free] offering schedule information, behind-the-scenes videos, and direct links to iTunes for purchasing content. Using the innovative native functionality (scroll, pinch and zoom) of iPhone and iPod touch, the HBO App allows consumers to easily navigate through programming schedules, view short form video clips and episode guides, create reminder alerts for programs of interest as well as purchase full-length episodes and other content on iTunes and Amazon.com.The HBO application also allows users to automatically view program schedules based on their location, as well as offering Facebook and Twitter integration to allow users to share information from the app with others. A "hidden objects" game is also included within the application. "We think the HBO App for iPhone and iPod touch will quickly attract both HBO's loyal fans as well as new consumers," said Alison Moore, Vice President, Brand Strategy. "With the most up-to-date content and information about our programming, schedules, stars, and more, the HBO App will become a key entertainment resource for our consumers."Further information on the HBO application for the iPhone and iPod touch, including a "sneak peek" video, is available on HBO's dedicated page.

HBO Coming To iTunes? [Now on iTunes]

HBO programming will soon be coming to the iTunes store according to a report by Portfolio.com. Apple is close to announcing it has signed a deal to sell HBO programs and movies on the iTunes website, according to HBO employees involved in executing the agreement. The deal marks the first time that Apple has agreed to a separate price structure for a content provider, one of the employees said. The HBO insiders said that the new service would be launched and announced simultaneously, most likely in a week or two. The site speculates that the price structure could represent either a larger cut for HBO of the $1.99 price per episode, or perhaps a price above $1.99. Portfolio.com notes that HBO has been slow in the past to provide content via new media, and this deal is due in part to pressure from HBO parent company Time Warner. Update: HBO shows have started appearing on