Type of site
|Video on demand|
|Founded||October 15, 2014|
|Headquarters||New York City, New York,|
|Area served||United States|
|Key people||Richard Plepler|
(CEO, Home Box Office, Inc.)
|Services||OTT streaming service|
|Registration||Monthly subscription through authorized distributor required to access content|
|Launched||April 7, 2015|
HBO Now is a subscription video on demand service operated by American premium cable and satellite television network HBO. Officially unveiled on March 9 and launched on April 7, 2015 the service allows subscribers on-demand access to HBO's library of original programs, films and other content on personal computers, smartphones, tablet devices and digital media players.
Unlike HBO Go, HBO's online video on demand service for existing subscribers of the linear television channel, HBO Now is available as a standalone service and does not require a television subscription to use, targeting cord cutters who use competing services such as Netflix and Hulu. As of February 2018, HBO Now has 5 million subscribers.
On October 15, 2014, following a trial of a similar service in Nordic Europe, HBO announced plans to launch an online, subscription video on demand service in the United States in 2015. This new service would be geared towards cord cutters – consumers who primarily use online video services to view television programs rather than subscribe to cable or satellite television – and would not have to be purchased as part of a television subscription, therefore also making it a competitor to services such as Netflix. This contrasts with HBO's existing online video on demand service, HBO Go, which is only accessible to those who have subscribed to HBO through a television provider.
On December 9, 2014, it was reported that HBO had outsourced development of the service's infrastructure to Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), who also developed the infrastructures used by WatchESPN and WWE Network. The network was previously working on a new platform codenamed "Maui"; however HBO, especially after major outages of HBO Go that occurred during several recent season premieres of high-profile HBO series, felt that outsourcing the service to a third-party would bring lower risk to the project. Otto Berkes stepped down as the company's Chief Technical Officer following this move.
The service was officially unveiled as HBO Now during an Apple press event on March 9, 2015. It was also announced that Apple would be the service's exclusive launch partner, with the HBO Now app being exclusive to Apple TV and iOS devices for a three-month period following the service's launch. HBO Now content can also be accessed on its website. HBO Now officially went live on April 7, 2015, to coincide with the April 12 premiere of the fifth season of Game of Thrones. Apple keeps 15% of the monthly subscription fee from users who sign up from an iOS device.
Following the end of the exclusivity period, HBO Now for Android and Amazon Kindle Fire was released on July 16, 2015. HBO Now apps for Xbox 360 and Xbox One were released on April 21, 2016. On September 15, Sony announced that HBO Now will be available on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, which was later released on September 29, 2016 in anticipation for the series premiere of Westworld on October 2, and that anyone that subscribed to HBO on PlayStation Vue would be able to access HBO Now at no extra cost.
HBO Now offers on-demand access to most of HBO's library of original series, but does not carry several past series such as Tales from the Crypt, Tenacious D, 1st & Ten, Da Ali G Show, or The Ricky Gervais Show. The Larry Sanders Show and Arliss were initially unavailable but added in 2016 and 2018 respectively. It also streams HBO's original films and documentaries, along with acquired films from its library through the cable channel's content partners (such as 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures and HBO sister company Warner Bros. Pictures). Time Warner stated that at least 2,000 titles would be available upon the service's launch.
Like with HBO Go, HBO Now strictly serves as a video on demand service and does not include access to near-real-time streams of HBO's linear channels – unlike similar (in particular, TV Everywhere) streaming services offered by other television networks. HBO Now also does not include programming streams or content from sister premium service Cinemax, and Time Warner has indicated that it does not plan to launch a companion standalone service for that network in the near term.
In Canada, Bell Media owns the exclusive rights to HBO's back-catalog for its own streaming service, CraveTV. Previously, current HBO programming was broadcast exclusively through HBO Canada, a multiplex channel of The Movie Network, and its own HBO Go app. In November 2018, Bell merged The Movie Network with CraveTV and relaunched the newly combined service as "Crave". The new service includes both current and library HBO programming, now available on a direct-to-consumer basis, similar to HBO Now.
On April 1, 2015, as part of an agreement with Time Warner that renewed its carriage contract for the Turner Broadcasting System networks and gave its over-the-top television service Sling TV distribution rights to the linear HBO channel, Dish Network secured an option to become a distribution partner for HBO Now following the exclusivity period with Apple. HBO content is also available as a premium add-on for Amazon Video, DirecTV Now, Hulu, PlayStation Vue for the same $14.99 price as HBO Now.
The over-the-top service was launched in Latin America in June 2017, although under the name HBO Go.
Analysts predicted HBO Now had over one million paying subscribers on iOS platforms in July 2015. In February 2016, Time Warner disclosed that HBO Now had over 800,000 paying subscribers, by February 2017 it had two million. And a year later in February 2018, it has grown to five million.
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- "All-New Crave Features HBO Collection". TVCanada. 2018-11-01. Retrieved 2018-11-01.
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- "Analysts: HBO Now already has about a million subscribers". Quartz. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- "HBO Now Has 800,000 Paid Streaming Subscribers, Time Warner Says". Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- Littleton, Cynthia (8 February 2017). "HBO Now Grows to More Than 2 Million Domestic Subscribers". Retrieved 20 September 2017.