Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Steve Jobs Is Smiling: HBO on Apple TV

Yup, Steve is smiling his trademark smile with a bit of a smirk at the news of the standalone HBO service, HBO Now, with Apple as its exclusive launch partner (media reports Apple with a 3-month window exclusivity).  The success of this launch, which others and I have already called it, will put mucho pressure the current cable TV model.

According to Recode, HBO is hoping to gain leverage over the cable and satellite industry in generating more revenue.  For now, HBO will charge $15 a month.  With Apple and, 3 months later, other means by which HBO Now will be able to be watched, it will add a new market for the cable channel - cord-cutters who want HBO without paying for cable TV bundles that most do not want to watch.  HBO wants broadband service providers to sell this new standalone service. 

And of course, Apple is all the more willing help HBO out if it means wrestling control of the media content away from the traditional players and destroying the current TV model.  Already, Sling TV with its $20 a month service that includes EPSN, TNT, CNN, and the Disneyland (there are more channels) is finding many takers. 

As a Sling TV subscriber, I can tell you that I'm very happy.  It would be awesome to have a science bundle includying SYFY but I'm patient. 

In the coming months, we'll see more effort along this line:  wrestling control away from tradtional cable TV.  Apple will certainly be a major player.  Even now, Sling TV is not available on Apple TV.  Perhaps, Tim Cook has a few designs with a rumored upgrade to the current Apple TV model. 

The end of the Recode article spoke of a stand-off between content providers and the cable TV gatekeepers and what weapons are at their disposal.  As a consumer, as long as the stand-off also mean others like Disney, Paramount, and Sony also provide their content via the HBO and Sling routes and we get more choices with less bundles, I'm happy with that.

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