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HBO to Launch Standalone Domestic OTT Video in 2015

15 Oct, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The streaming service, which will not require a traditional multichannel video program distribution subscription, could be a major competitor to SVOD services such as Netflix

HBO has launched a major shot across the bow of the subscription streaming market — specifically Netflix.

After much speculation, HBO will finally launch a standalone over-the-top video service not requiring a cable/satellite/telecom subscription in the United States in 2015, CEO Richard Plepler told an investor group in New York.

Speaking Oct. 15 at Time Warner’s investor day event, Plepler said the time was right to launch HBO as an OTT video service. Doing so will put HBO in direct competition with Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus, among others.

Plepler said that with more than 10 million broadband homes in the country and growing, the time was right to go OTT.

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO,” Plepler said. “So, in 2015, we will launch a standalone, over-the-top HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners.  And we will explore models with new partners. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”

The CEO said specific details of the OTT service and how it would be incorporated with HBO’s current pay-TV ecosystem would be addressed closer to launch.

“This will be transformative for our company,” Plepler said, adding that international expansion of the HBO brand via retransmission deals and OTT (HBO Nordics) contributes to 25% of HBO’s global revenue. HBO generated $1.5 billion in overseas revenue in the recent fiscal year.

“We strongly believe our market-by-market approach is the best way to maximize profits,” he said.

As previously reported, HBO will launch a major multimedia branding campaign beginning next year. It will be the premium channel’s first major marketing effort in years.

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