Another major player in cable television is stepping up to offer its content online, no cable subscription needed. Showtime, the pay TV network home to shows like Homeland, The Affair, and Shameless, announced that its online-only offering, also called Showtime, will debut in early July.
Like HBO’s new standalone streaming service HBO Now, the Showtime service will launch first on Apple devices before other partners come into play. It’s unclear how long Apple’s window of exclusivity will last, but it’s unlikely to be as long as the three-month window given to Apple by HBO. In any case, Showtime’s service is set to launch just as Apple’s window of exclusivity with HBO ends. So as Showtime debuts on Apple, HBO Now will be rolling out to other platforms, including Google’s Android.
Showtime will cost $10.99 per month—$4 less than HBO’s service. It also will give subscribers access to a live feed of the Showtime TV channel. HBO Now releases new episodes of shows at the same time as they air on live television, but does not currently offer a stream of the HBO cable channel. Both services offer vast, on-demand libraries of original series, documentaries, and popular Hollywood movies.
CBS, which owns Showtime, is going after the tens of millions of Americans who pay for internet access but don’t subscribe to cable TV. HBO covets the same market, and it’s likely that other major networks will soon join the fray as well. Welcome to the future of television.