HBO plans to launch a streaming service that is not tied to a cable television subscription next year, the company announced today.
"It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO," said Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, today during a conference at Time Warner Investor Day. Time Warner is the parent company of HBO.
"We will go beyond the wall and launch a stand-alone over-the-top service with the potential to produce hundred [sic] of millions of dollars in revenue," Plepler continued. "This will be transformative for our company." Plepler gave few further details, but said that HBO will "work with our current partners and we will explore models with new partners" to launch the new service. Earlier this year, HBO teamed up with Amazon to offer many of its older TV shows on Amazon Instant Video. And the network already offers a cable-free streaming service called HBO Nordic in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden with 380,000 subscribers as of July, reports Bloomberg.
HBO launched its existing streaming service, HBO Go, in February 2010. HBO Go is available on computers, smartphones, tablets, game consoles and other connected devices, but access to it requires authentication with login information from a pay-TV customer who already subscribes to HBO. During his talk, Plepler noted that about 10 million households in the U.S. only pay for broadband internet and not cable TV. It's possible that many of them would like to pay for HBO by itself, rather than having to subscribe to cable (or mooch off someone else who does).
"That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped," said Plepler. "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."
Streaming video services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video have built up massive subscriber bases in recent years with plans that cost less than $10 a month. HBO could follow a model similar to World Wrestling Entertainment, which launched the WWE Network earlier this year. For $9.99 per month, the WWE Network gives subscribers on-demand access to thousands of hours of archive programming and all monthly pay-per-view events.
We've reached out to HBO for comment, and will update this article with any information we receive.
Update: An HBO representative told Polygon the company has no further comment on Plepler's announcement. Asked about details regarding the release window for HBO Go apps on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the rep said there are no updates at this time beyond the previously announced date of "2014."