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Old 10-16-2014, 08:19 PM   #15
Lantern A-train
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HBO to launch Netflix-like streaming service next year

Time Warner is ready to take HBO beyond cable.

The Jeff Bewkes-led media giant said Wednesday it is set to launch an HBO streaming service that will be available to every TV viewer in the country — whether or not they are a cable customer.

“We’ll go beyond the wall and launch an over-the-top product to produce hundreds of millions of dollars of additional revenue,” HBO chief Richard Plepler said during a Time Warner investor conference in New York.

The news had investors dreaming of expanded profits as they bid Time Warner shares up over 3 percent to $73.70 in heavy mid-morning trading. The move was even more dramatic than that — Time Warner shares had opened lower at $69.01, creating a nearly 7 percent jump in about 30 minutes.

The news of an aggressive HBO streaming roll-out would most affect Netflix which reports third quarter earnings after the bell Wednesday. Netflix fell as much as 3.9 percent to $432.54 in mid-morning trading.

Plepler emphasized that Time Warner’s global opportunities to roll out a streaming version of HBO would begin next year. HBO Nordic already operates free of traditional distributors.

“This is the most exciting inflection point in HBO history,” said Plepler. “Just the threat of going over-the-top gives us additional leverage.”
Plepler gave no other details of the service which would build on the existing HBO Go, which is available to those who pay for HBO via a traditional pay—TV subscription. The existing HBO service sold through cable TV distributors will remain.

The news comes amid a host of traditional players looking to build businesses online. While distributors have fought hard against streaming options which undermine their video packages, cable operators and telecom operators still benefit given that it drives broadband take-up.

Not to be outdone by HBO, CBS has announced today that they will be launching their own subscription-based streaming service. The monthly internet service, called “CBS All Access,” will cost $5.99 a month and provide subscribers with a continuous livestream of local CBS programming. The service will launch in 14 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The hope is that more affiliates will join later on.

The one hiccup? NFL games will not be available on CBS All Access, though CBS brass says they are in negotiations to free up rights to live sporting events. Les Moonves has also hinted that we should be expecting a standalone Showtime streaming service soon, too.

Should cable companies be worried? Probably. Yeah. When HBO announced yesterday that they would be providing customers with a stand alone streaming subscription option, it was a clear sign that cable was starting to crumble. Consumers will no longer need to buy expensive cable bundles to watch their favorite HBO shows. Now, CBS fans won’t even have to purchase a basic cable plan to watch The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, or Stephen Colbert’s upcoming new late night show.

Pop culture pundits have been predicting the fall of cable and the rise of streaming for years, but up until the last 24 hours or so, that conversation was all theoretical. The fact that CBS, which is often considered the most conservative of the big three networks, is the first to announce their plans to launch a stand-alone streaming service is just further proof that the Age of Streaming is nigh.
I LOVE conspiracy theorists. They are like human versions of the cymbal clapping, dancing monkeys. No one takes them all that seriously and they get bored with them after about 10 minutes.
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