Following rumours last week about pricing, availability and partnerships, HBO yesterday officially confirmed the launch of its new streaming service, HBO Now, at Apple’s Spring Forward event. HBO and Apple also announced that for the first time an HBO subscription will be made available directly to Apple customers through HBO Now. As expected, the service will launch this April, in time for the fifth season of Game of Thrones.
Unlike its original service, HBO Go, the network has signed an exclusive with Apple, meaning only those consumers with an Apple device will be able to access content. Perhaps in a move to persuade more consumers to adopt the service, Apple is lowering the price of the Apple TV device from $99 to $69.
“HBO Now is the next phase of innovation at HBO,” said Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO. “With this new partnership, a natural evolution for the network, we have access to millions of Apple customers who are used to getting their favorite apps immediately. Now, they can do the same with an HBO subscription.”
Subscribers only need an internet connection to access the service, rather than having to sign up for a subscription cable offering. Similar to HBO Go, HBO Now will offer more than 2,000 titles online.
Upon launch, customers can subscribe using the HBO Now app using an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch or directly on Apple TV for instant access. Users can purchase HBO Now directly in-app for $14.99 a month and upon registering, subscribers will also be able to watch via the HBO Now website. HBO will offer a 30-day introductory free trial period to new HBO Now customers who sign up through Apple in April.
HBO is continuing discussions with its existing network of distributors and new digital partners to offer HBO Now, and the service, when launched, will also be available on iOS devices and on PCs.
“HBO Now offers a new generation of HBO fans many of the best TV programmes in the world without a cable or satellite subscription,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Now, with the same simplicity as buying an app, customers can subscribe to HBO Now and instantly start viewing their favourite HBO programmess as they air, this is huge.”
The network’s programming includes ever-popular series like Sopranos and Sex and the City as well as anticipated new programming, such as the Emmy-winning True Detective, with Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams. In addition to TV series, HBO Films titles, including the new Bessie, starring Queen Latifah, will become available on HBO NOW as they air on HBO.