Watch HBO NOW Without Cable
The Cord Cutting Revolution takes a huge Step Forward
As each year passes and as more people abandon cable, it becomes easier and easier to cut the cord. However, one of the biggest cord cutting obstacles still remains, access to Premium Content like HBO. People love HBO programming but sadly, and for the time being, there is no way to get most HBO’s programming without a cable subscription. Fortunately, this is all about to change.
HBO’s Standalone Streaming Service
Recently, HBO executives announced plans to offer a standalone streaming service in 2015. This is huge news; and it could serve as the tipping point that spells the end of cable as we know it. That may sound like a dramatic assessment, but that day is closer than you think. In today’s post, I’m going to lay out why it makes sense for HBO and other companies to go standalone, why other networks haven’t done so already, and what it means for the cord cutting consumer. Let’s get started…
4.18.16 Update: HBO Now is available and costs $15 a month. The good news is they are offering a 1 Month Free Trial.
HBO on Sling TV
As an additional option, HBO is now available via Sling TV as well. For $15 a month you get access to HBO live and on-demand content; which helps when you are looking to catch up or binge on your favorite shows. Read “What is Sling TV” to read more, or simply signup for their 7-day free trial.
Why it Makes Sense
The reason most television networks and entertainment companies don’t go with standalone streaming is that there just isn’t a large enough market for them. While HBO is a powerhouse and will be just fine, many smaller television networks simply don’t have the viewership to make the risk worth it.
To give you some perspective, in 2005 “The Office” garnered 5.4 million views; making it the 102nd most popular show on television. Eight years later “The Office” had 4.2 million viewers and was the highest rated sitcom on NBC. The nature of television is changing.
HBO Now: HBO’s breaking away from the pack is a sure sign that that fear has passed the point of profitability. If HBO’s standalone subscription works well, more companies will follow… and trust me, it will.
Online streaming is incredibly profitable, and if you don’t believe me listen to this: Netflix currently has 44 million members compared to HBOs 114 million. Sounds likes HBO is whipping Netflix right? Not quite. Although HBO still dwarfs Netflix in membership, Netflix still made $4.4 billion last year while HBO made $4.9 billion. Even though Netflix has 74 million fewer subscribers, they made nearly as much as HBO; and HBO executives are taking notes.
The bottom line is that running your own streaming service is far more profitable than relying on a third part; i.e. cable providers. If you have the means to give your customer what they want without an intermediary, why not do it? It just makes sense.
Even though the HBO Now without cable streaming service has not been released, it is already having an effect on the market. Shortly after HBO announced its plans to offer a standalone service, CBS announced that it would offer its own streaming service for $5.99 a month and will offer full seasons of popular CBS shows (both old and new) and even a 24/7 live feed from the reality show Big Brother. If that’s not enough, Showtime (which is owned by CBS) is also considering offering a standalone service. Can you see the dominoes beginning to fall?
Why other Networks haven’t made the switch
Although this drop in television viewership should be attributed to online streaming, most television execs at smaller network stations, don’t see it that way. Instead these execs simply feel that their market is shrinking, and now view moving to an online model, as more risky than ever before.
The large television networks haven’t embraced video streaming for entirely different reasons. They simply dont want to jeopardize their relationship with the big cable providers like Comcast & Time Warner.
Here is an example of how much power these Cable Companies really have: Late last year and early this year, Netflix and Comcast were involved with a dispute over broadband speed. Because Netflix is so popular, Comcast throttled the speed of their customers using Netflix and asked for more money to speed things back up.
Since there is little to no choice in internet service providers, most large television networks would rather stick with cable instead of battling the ISP/Cable behemoths.
What this means for the Cord Cutting consumer
In the beginning, you can expect these standalone services like HBO GO to cost around the same as if you added it on to your cable plan. However, as time goes on and more companies follow suit, consumers can expect lower prices, wider content selections, and more choice when it comes to HOW you get your media.
The time is coming, and cable subscriptions are becoming more irrelevant. Do you want to sit there and needlessly pay for hundreds of channels you don’t want or do you want to take the leap and KilltheCableBill? Cutting the cord has never been easier than it is now; and with HBO’s latest announcement, it’s about to get a lot more entertaining.
What do you think? Would being able to pay for HBO as a stand alone service be enough incentive to cancel your Cable Subscription? Or if your already a proud cordcutter, is this something you would be willing to pay for?