HBO’s cable-free streaming service will be called “HBO Now” and cost $15 per month, according to International Business Times. HBO is reportedly trying to launch the service by April 12, in time for the fifth-season premiere of Game of Thrones.
“We know there’s great anticipation around our standalone streaming service,” HBO said in a statement, responding to questions about the report. “And when we have details to share, we will do so.”
The price would be significantly more than Netflix’s standard plan in the US, which costs $9 a month, but it’s right in line with the amount most people pay for HBO through their pay TV providers. The biggest difference is that corporate parent Time Warner won’t require a pay TV subscription as a prerequisite for subscribing to HBO Now. Some analysts expect close to 10 million people to subscribe to the new service without otherwise paying for traditional television.
The report makes no mention of pricing tiers, which some suggested HBO would roll out in lieu of a fixed premium. Perhaps the biggest surprise in the report is that HBO Now will have a different interface than HBO Go, the network’s existing streaming product that’s only available to pay TV subscribers.
As reported late last year, HBO will partner with Major League Baseball Advanced Media—the internet branch of the MLB and a leader in streaming media—to build the back-end of the new service. The International Business Times reports that Apple is very interested in partnering with HBO, as well, and that HBO Now could launch on Apple TV. In all likelihood, Apple is just one of many potential partners for the service. Others could include companies that offer both television and internet service.
Launching a streaming video service isn’t easy, but HBO seems to have at least conquered two potential problems already: pricing and a streaming infrastructure. If the service does launch in time for Game of Thrones, the onus will be on MLB Advanced Media to handle the heavy load of customers trying to stream the show. Last year, HBO Go crashed amid enormous demand for the season finale of True Detective.