Home HBO Will Finally Give Cord-Cutters The Streaming They Crave

HBO Will Finally Give Cord-Cutters The Streaming They Crave

Describing 10 million broadband-only homes—many of which likely house Game Of Thrones fans tethered to their parents’ HBO login—as “low hanging fruit,” the cable channel’s CEO Richard Plepler says he’s ready to take their money. 

Sometime next year, college students, your unemployed bestie, and the cheap and cable-less everywhere will have the privilege of paying for HBO streaming shows, Plepler announced in an investors presentation. Even if they don’t have a TV.

See also: HBO Is Coming To Amazon—And You Don’t Need To Be A HBO Subscriber

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” Plepler said in an understatement. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.”

With skyrocketing cable prices and a slew of TV offerings available online, more people worldwide are cutting the cable cord. That’s a problem for those who want to watch HBO’s stable of high-quality original content, but don’t have cable. The company only allows access to its HBO GO streaming offering to homes which subscribe to its cable package. 

“Stealing” HBO is a documented fact. The notorious “Red Wedding” episode of Game of Thrones broke a piracy record in April when it was downloaded 1.5 million times in a single day. Other HBO favorites, such as The Sopranos and True Blood, were pretty popular among pirates in their day, too. In the past, HBO took a laissez-faire attitude to its purloined programming, which amounts to free advertising. But not everyone wants to steal. 

Celebrating the news of an untethered HBO, the Take My Money HBO website posted “It’s Happening” prominently on its homepage Wednesday. Web designer Jake Caputo built the website in 2012, where tens of thousands of people said they’d pay an average of $12 a month if HBO would offer a streaming-only service.

HBO’s change of heart may the result of competing streaming services that have significantly upped their original programing game. Netflix, for one, has 50 million customers. With breakout hits such as Orange is the New Black and David Fincher’s Kevin Spacey vehicle House of Cards, Netflix is poised to earn more than HBO in the coming year. 

Growing competition among other streaming services means HBO has little choice but to put its lucrative partnerships with cable companies like Comcast, Time Warner, Charter, Cox, Dish, and DirecTV on notice. If HBO has success offering a streaming-only bundle for customers, other channels may follow suit. 

See also: Game of Chromes: HBO GO Now Supports Chromecast

During his talk, Plepler estimated that the new offering will help HBO reach customers who don’t want a full bundle of TV channels or even any TV at all, a number of people he estimated at around 10 million. This would be added revenue on top of the $4.9 billion earned this year from existing HBO GO customers.

Screenshot via Game of Thrones on HBO

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