HBO to finally launch a standalone service next year

Next year will mark the first time you will be able to watch Game of Thrones without a cable subscription. HBO CEO Richard Plepler said during an investor presentation that the company will start selling a digital version of its service by 2015. Up until now, viewers have only been able to catch the latest episodes as long as they paid for it through their cable TV provider. More recently, HBO started to open up older content, including the Sopranos or The Wire, through a deal with Amazon Instant Video, which comes bundled together with Prime, its two-day shipping service.

HBO says it’s finally ready: Sometime in the next year the pay-TV service will be selling a Web-only offering. HBO CEO Richard Plepler, speaking at an investor presentation hosted by HBO parent company Time Warner, said the company will start selling in 2015 a digital version of its service that won’t require a pay-TV subscription. Plepler said the company will go “beyond the wall” and launch a “stand-alone, over the top” version of HBO in the U.S. next year, and would work with “current partners,” and may work with others as well. But he wouldn’t provide any other detail. Even that vague statement is a milestone for HBO, Time Warner and the TV business in general. For years, Time Warner and HBO have said they’re happy with the existing system, where HBO is sold to consumers by TV providers, and is usually only available to customers who are already buying another bundle of TV networks.


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