HBO has announced that starting next year it will offer its online streaming service HBO Go to anyone willing to pay, whether they have cable or not.
Marketplace Tech host Ben Johnson says the move is an important about-face for entertainment giant Time Warner.
“The CEO [Richard Plepler] has promised that HBO wasn’t going to do this and now they’ve changed,” Johnson says. “I think that’s probably because there’s been a discussion behind the scenes about just what the lay of the land looks like.”
Access to HBO Go is widely shared, something Plepler has said he doesn’t mind. But last year HBO’s paid customer count was surpassed by Netflix, and Game of Thrones recently set a world record for piracy.
Johnson guesses HBO has been pressuring its parent company Time Warner toward this move for a while now.
“I think it’s kind of bad news for cable companies,” Johnson says. “By some estimates only like 3 percent of people are going to cut the cord next year, but those numbers are really growing fast for certain demographics and people’s behavior is really changing.”
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