A few months back it was reported that HBO is going to launch a standalone online streaming service at some point in 2015. A similar service is already available, called HBO Go, but it requires a subscription to the cable network. The online-only service wouldn’t have that requirement, and thus potentially be able to reach out to other markets around the world. A leaked memo has appeared online, hinting that the new service might be launched in April 2015, right around the time when Game of Thrones has its season premiere.
The dream of standalone HBO might be closer that we previously thought. According to Fortune, the company plans to launch the service “in line with the Game of Thrones season premiere in April.” There’s also a pretty good chance the service will look a lot different than HBO Go. According to the report, HBO has canceled its in-house project (codenamed Maui) and instead will outsource the work to MLB Advanced, which is used by MLB.com, the WWE Network, and WatchESPN. Why the change? According to one of Fortune’s sources, “they realized [CTO Otto Berkes] couldn’t pull it off.” HBO executives are reportedly unhappy with the frequent outages this year and the lack of upgrades. As for what this all means for HBO Go in the long term is unclear. The memo that Fortune has provided makes it clear that the company’s top priority is to “fully support the work needed to enable the external solution for April” but at the same time talks about repurposing “a large portion of Maui’s effort” for Go (also in time for April). We’ve reached out to HBO for comment.