US cable network HBO will launch an internet on-demand service in 2015, the company has revealed. The move is thought to be a sign that HBO is showing its strength against Netflix, which has been investing heavily in premium drama content and targeting HBO customers.
HBO currently operates HBO GO, a TV Everywhere service, but its OTT move will allow US customers to access content without a pay TV subscription. HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler told a Time Warner investors’ day event that it was time to “remove all barriers” from people who want to watch HBO. “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.” he commented.
On the day of Plepler’s announcements, and following poor third quarter subscriber numbers, Netflix shares fell dramatically. Netflix failed to achieve prior targets, adding less than one million customers in the US and just over two million internationally in the three months to September 30, 2014, it was reported. The company saw its share price plunge more than 20 per cent.
HBO’s move is designed to target the 10 million broadband-only homes in the US, making available shows such as the immensely-popular Game of Thrones, previously only available via the company’s pay TV service.