In a widely speculated move that escalates the rivalry with Netflix and will have other cable networks watching closely, HBO plans to launch a stand-alone HBO Go service in 2015.
HBO chief Richard Plepler announced the move at the Time Warner investors meeting on Wednesday (October 15), shortly before Netflix stock tumbled 25% after that company said subscriber growth had been slower than expected.
The Over The Top streaming service, similar to one HBO operates in Scandinavia, will not require users to subscribe to a traditional cable or satellite plan, adding weight to the ‘cord-cutter’ movement.
Plepler said there were approximately 10m such people with web access in the US and promised to “use all measures” to go after a new potential customer base of 80m homes in the US without HBO.
The stand-alone service will also need to establish a billing capability, something it has not required under the aegis of its cable overlords at Time Warner. It is understood the company has been hiring software engineers, most likely to develop infrastructure.
It remained unclear at time of writing how much the service will cost and whether programming like the smash Game Of Thrones fantasy series would be made available to users.