HBO Now Readying April 2015 Launch?

Time Warner appears to readying an April 2015 launch of its new “HBO Now” streaming video service, at a price of $15 a month. That will mean the first time the full HBO service has been made available directly to U.S. consumers, without the need to buy a linear video subscription first.

That means a new set of distributors (Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Amazon) will be engaged to sell the product to end users, though some U.S. cable TV operators have expressed interest in retailing the product as well.

HBO claims the HBO Now service will be marketed primarily to the 10 million U.S. high speed access subscribers who do not buy a linear video subscription.

But consumers themselves will decide how the demand shapes up. Linear video distributors will be watching closely to see whether there is an upsurge in HBO churn, as well as the degree of demand from consumers who do not want to buy a linear video service.

CBS and Starz already have committed to launching an over the top product, and NBCUniversal is launching a new comedy-focused niche service as well.

At some point, linear video distributors are going to have to make a hard choice about whether to compete with Verizon Communications, Amazon, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox, Playstation and others.

Verizon, among the larger U.S. linear video distributors, has been most supportive of the notion that over the top entertainment video, especially delivered to mobile devices, was a significant opportunity.
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