By Sahil Patel
Cablevision is the first pay-TV provider to buy into HBO Now.
As part of the deal, HBO’s standalone subscription streaming service, which is expected to launch in April, will be available for broadband customers of Cablevision’s internet service, Optimum Online.
“We are well-positioned to support HBO NOW and, as technology advances, Cablevision will continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers,” said Cablevision COO Kristin Dolan in a statement.
This is an important move for HBO, which has been arguing that HBO Now won’t cannibalize the existing — and very lucrative — distribution deals it has with cable and satellite TV providers. Available for $14.99 per month, HBO Now is designed for the roughly 10 million broadband customers in the US who don’t pay for TV. By making the service available via their broadband services, these traditional distributors can get access to that audience and revenue stream that they were previously unable to, HBO’s argument goes.
Up until now, most pay-TV providers have been hesitant to throw their support behind the service. Cablevision’s deal could be the tipping point.
That said, there’s one interesting thing to note: Cablevision said it plans to provide “pricing and other particulars for HBO Now” in the coming weeks. This suggests that the $14.99 price the service will carry via Apple — for the time being, HBO’s exclusive digital distribution partner — might not apply to those subscribing via Cablevision. If pay-TV operators are able to charge a little bit more, then maybe some of that hesitance goes away.
Financial terms of HBO’s deal with Cablevision were not disclosed by either company.