Apple is in talks with HBO to become a launch partner for the HBO Now streaming service. Apple TV may join Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, and Amazon in distributing streaming content from HBO’s catalog of television series and movies. HBO Now is set to debut in April, just in time for the season premiere of its popular series “Game of Thrones.” The streaming service will mark the first time that viewers will be able to subscribe directly to HBO, instead of through a pay TV service.
HBO Now will cost subscribers $15 per month. Even though that’s more expensive than streaming services like Netflix, adoption rates are expected to be high. HBO CEO Jeff Bewkes believes some of the 70 million cable TV subscribers that do not currently subscribe to HBO’s premium channel might subscribe to HBO Now.
One study suggests that HBO Now may even lead to a 7 percent drop in pay TV subscribers, according to the International Business Times.
HBO Now is aimed at cord cutters abandoning their cable bundles and satellite TV service for online-only streaming services. Pay TV providers in the U.S. lost 125,000 subscribers last year. Some cable providers may still try to make some money from cord cutters by bundling HBO Now with broadband Internet service.
Apple is hoping that adding HBO Now will drive adoption of Apple TV until it can negotiate the rights to offer its own linear TV package. Apple TV already hosts HBO GO, a streaming service specifically for people who subscribe to HBO through their cable or satellite provider. HBO Go allows those customers to stream content on a variety of devices.
HBO Now is designed for people who do not have a pay TV subscription. They will access content via a separate login, and maybe even a separate app on Apple TV.