HBO is about to make cord cutters really happy.
The media company confirmed it will launch a standalone service for streaming its programs starting in 2015 that will not require a cable subscription. The service was revealed by HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler during Time Warner’s investor meeting on Wednesday.
“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” said Plepler of the rise in broadband-only homes. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”
Talk of a potential breakaway service from cable has bubbled for months. The network offers HBO Go, an app where users can access current and older HBO programs including Game of Thrones and The Sopranos. However, it requires users to authenticate their account through their cable subscription. The app is available through smartphones, tablets, video game consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and set-top boxes including Apple TV.
In April, HBO announced a multi-year deal with Amazon to host older series including The Wire and Deadwood on the company’s Instant Prime streaming service.
HBO’s leap toward a standalone service was “inevitable,” says Forrester analyst James McQuivey. “HBO has some of the most prized content on the TV screen and it appeals strongly to the young, affluent, educated demographic that is most likely to cut the cable cord in the next five to ten years,” he says.
Next year’s arrival of a streaming HBO service is happening as companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime delve deeper into original programming. Last month, Netflix announced it will produce its first original movie, a sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Days later, Netflix signed a long-term deal with comedian Adam Sandler to make four movies that will stream exclusively on the service.
Meanwhile, Amazon’s Prime video service has continued expanding its original offerings, most notably the series Transparent, which launched last month.