Prepare for Winter, spend some time in the Oval Office, and disrupt the industry with yout startup because Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley are coming back to the small screen(s) in a big way this Sunday!
HBO NOW, HBO‘s standalone web service that was announced last month at Apple’s Spring Forward event, is here and available in the iOS App Store and on your Apple TV. The service will be Apple-exclusive for a few months before it heads to other devices. HBO’s CEO Richard Pepler, who introduced the service on Apple’s main stage, recently said to CNBC that the reason for the timed exclusivity is due to the existing HBO GO’s usage numbers on Apple devices. According to Pepler:
“Well, listen. They’re obviously an extraordinary company with a wide range of devices, and those devices are proliferating throughout the consumer base. But also, as we look at HBO GO, which is our streaming service tethered to distributors, we saw about 60 percent usage on Apple devices so it made perfect sense for us to work with Apple introducing HBO Now.”
Considering the sheer number of Apple devices that are in households across the country, it makes sense to perfect the service in one ecosystem before branching out into others. It’s a bold move to offer the service for free for at least a month though, I must say. Last year, the separate HBO GO service was positively choked with users trying to stream the season 5 premiere of Game of Thrones. Users in any US time zone could start streaming the episode at the 9 o’clock Eastern premiere time. Later episodes in the season did not have the same streaming issues, because HBO was able to adjust their internals to match the demand. That’s why starting off in one segment before going fully global makes operational sense. It’s not ideal that Android devices, Roku boxes, et al. won’t have the service simultaneously for this year. But, this time next year, when Season 7 rolls out, HBO NOW will be available to all, and most likely ready for yet another record-breaking premiere.
HBO NOW is available with one month’s free service during April on Apple TV and compatible iOS devices, and the service is $14.99 per month afterward. A subscription to HBO through cable is not required.
Will you be signing up for HBO NOW? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below.