HBO CEO Richard Plepler shared today that the premium satellite and cable network will begin offering a web-only package sometime in 2015 as it attempts to gain new paid subscribers. A web-only offering for HBO (and other popular networks) is something cable cutters have wanted for years although many argued that the economics of the cable industry wouldn’t make the option feasible for the networks.

Plepler, though, cited “the current ten million broadband-only homes” before announcing that HBO will launch “a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service” next year. Could a version of HBO unbundled from cable providers mean that Apple TV may also become less restrained by required cable subscriptions?

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HBO already makes movies and TV shows available on the web and through apps for iPad and Apple TV, but HBO Go requires a paid subscription to the network which currently requires an active cable or satellite subscription.

In fact, most Apple TV channels including HBO, ESPN, Showtime and more require authenticating with an active cable subscription to unlock full content.

While Plepler’s announcement didn’t reveal exactly what content will be available through the web-only version of HBO or how much the subscription will cost, the announcement is a promising one nonetheless.

Plepler also described the future HBO offering as “over-the-top” which hopefully means the offering will include new content as it airs rather than holding it for the next day.

In his remarks, Plepler added that HBO will work with current partners and explore models with new partners to deliver the stand-alone version of HBO. This could mean that the network becomes an add-on to your existing Internet subscription.

Apple TV channels like Netflix and Hulu support monthly subscriptions directly within each channel, and a similar offering from HBO certainly push the product forward from being a second cable box with iTunes to a true cable box replacement.

An overhauled version of the Apple TV is already anticipated for release next year, but HBO could be at the beginning of a movement to unbundle networks from cable providers which could completely change the current Apple TV.

HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler Announces HBO to Offer a Stand-Alone HBO Streaming Service in 2015

Speaking at the Time Warner Inc. Investor Meeting today, Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, HBO, announced that the company will offer a stand-alone HBO streaming service in 2015. Following a portion of his presentation focused on HBO’s domestic business, during which he cited significant growth opportunities inside the pay-TV universe, Plepler then turned to the current ten million broadband-only homes, which is projected to grow.

Plepler then added:

“That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO.

“So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States. We will work with our current partners. And, we will explore models with new partners. All in, there are 80 million homes that do not have HBO and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”

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