HBO has revealed the number of subscribers on its video streaming service HBO Now, saying it has 800,000 paying users. The number was disclosed by HBO’s CEO Richard Plepler during a conference call today, a time during which he also stated that the company sees “an enormous amount of potential ahead.” He also stated the $14.99/month subscription fee will remain the established rate, at least for now, though it is possible it could change in the future.
HBO Now was introduced in April 2015, and offers subscribers access to HBO content sans an ordinary cable subscription, something aiming to help it bank on its wildly popular shows like Game of Thrones..which, as you may know, is one of the most pirated shows ever. The service offered promotions and trials to get customers on board.
Now, as the waters settle and we get a more stable view of its user base, the number is modest — 800,000 is a large number of subscribers, of course, but it pales in companion to some of its competitors. Netflix, for example, boasts more than 40,000 subscribers, and it is only one piece of the larger pie that HBO must contend with.
The number could increase, though, as HBO is gearing up to more heavily push the service following several months of tweaking and bug squashing. According to Plepler, “We are going to market the service more aggressively. HBO Now is an additive part of our growth strategy.” The company is also pursuing and otherwise ironing out content deals that will result in additional content for subscribers, making HBO Now more attractive.
The business move comes in light of consumers’ growing distance from traditional cable and satellite television; many have decided to forgo the often expensive cable packages in favor of Netflix, Hulu, and other video services coupled with a set top box like Roku or Apple TV. Dish Network added fuel to the movement when it introduced Sling TV, a bridge of sorts between the two worlds that provides real time television, but over the Internet (sans a cable subscription altogether).
Sling TV brings with it sports content, one of the biggest reason many were still holding fast to traditional television. Over the past year, we’ve seen new services pop up (Showtime launched its own, for example, and then partnered with Hulu to push it), and we’ve heard rumors of new services being in the works, including one Viacom allegedly had in the pipeline for kids’ television shows.
SOURCE: LA Times