Cord cutters rejoice, HBO chairman and CEO, Richard Pleppler, announced at the Time Warner Inc. investor meeting today that a stand-alone HBO streaming service will be offered sometime in 2015.
HBO has long resisted breaking ties from cable partners and even actively acknowledged that their number one show of all time, Game of Thrones, also happened to be the most pirated TV show in the world. However, after citing continuing growth opportunities with cable partners to ease their minds that HBO will not be making a full break from cable providers, Plepler announced today that the some ten million homes that only have internet service and no cable service is a market HBO is actively pursuing and will hopefully be reached sometime 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.
Plepler continued with a three part strategy – reaching the internet-only households he addressed above, acquire new partners like Google and Amazon for streaming services, and eventually become a direct Netflix competitor with a full stand-alone streaming services and content.
While currently only planned to launch in the US, there are plans to expand the stand-alone services overseas. Plepler said the move would be “transformative for our company”, without going into specifics on whether the stand-alone services would mirror what is available to the current subscribers or have any differences. No dates or estimates of time frame when the service will be available, though the announcement in itself is fantastic news for anyone looking to break their ties with cable companies (or those who have already done so).