HBO has revealed plans to launch a standalone, web-based OTT service in the US in 2015, a move which would enable viewers to access the channel for the first time without the need for a cable or satellite subscription.
CEO Richard Plepler confirmed the initiative during parent Time Warner’s investor conference on Wednesday morning, saying the time had come to capitalise on the growth of video viewing over the web. “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.”
According to Pleper, the OTT service has the potential to produce hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue for HBO, along with international opportunities. “This will be transformative for our company,” he said, describing the initiative as “the most exciting inflection point in the history of HBO”.
Responding to the news, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote in a Letter to Shareholders as it reported its Q3 results that: “Starting back in 201, we started saying that HBO would be our primary long-term competitor, particularly for content. The competition will drive us both to be better. It was inevitable and sensible that they would eventually offer their service as a standalone application. Many people will subscribe to both Netflix and HBO since we have different shows, so we think it is likely we both prosper as consumers move to Internet TV.”