HBO CEO Richard Plepler, speaking at an investor presentation hosted by HBO parent company Time Warner, said the company will start selling a digital version of its service that won’t require a pay-TV subscription in 2015.
Plepler said the company will go “beyond the wall” and launch a “stand alone, over the top” version of HBO in the US next year, and would work with “current partners,” and may work with others as well. But he wouldn’t provide any other detail.
“Over the top” is industry speak for providing video content directly to people via the Internet, rather than using cable and satellite companies. For years people have speculated that HBO might try to sell subscriptions unbundled from TV providers, and this is the first positive thing HBO executives have really said about it.
But in the aforelinked piece, Re/code’s Peter Kafka strikes several notes of caution. All we know is that HBO is going to launch a service. There’s no telling what it might be. It might be only available from cable companies who are Internet providers. It might be a limited service that doesn’t show current episodes of shows, or only keeps them available for a few weeks. It might be HBO GO, some new service, or even an HBO partnership to provide content to another web streaming provider.
Nobody knows. But if my Twitter stream is any indication, a whole lot of cord cutters and would-be cord cutters are really excited about the possibility of paying HBO directly to watch the next season of “Game of Thrones.”