HBO today announced its second deal with a pay TV provider, in this case Verizon*, to make its over-the-top streaming service HBO NOW available to broadband customers who don’t have a cable TV subscription. In addition, the terms of the deal also reference making HBO NOW available to Verizon’s other “digital platforms,” including its upcoming mobile video platform, which will be called Go90, according to recently leaked details.
That means HBO NOW will be available to Verizon DSL customers, FiOS broadband customers, and soon, the company’s 100 million Verizon Wireless customers, too.
Starting today, HBO NOW is immediately available to Verizon FiOS Internet and high-speed internet customers at its usual rate of $14.99 per month. Customers can also opt for a 30-day free trial which will allow them to use the HBO NOW app on their Android phone, Amazon Fire tablet, iPad, iPhone and/or Apple TV by selecting “Verizon” from the list of providers upon sign up. They can also watch from a PC via hbonow.com.
Verizon’s decision to resell the service makes sense in light of the company’s mobile video ambitions, even though other cable and satellite TV operators may have initially hesitated to give their pay TV customers a reason to cancel their bigger, pricey TV bundles in favor of more affordable internet-only packages where they can watch streaming content like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, and HBO NOW, among other things.
But the tide is turning when it comes to how consumers engage with television – people are watching on multiple devices, watching video on demand, and binging their way through series and movies without commercial interruptions. That has led traditional pay TV operators to adjust their own business models to keep up with the shift in consumer behavior.
Cablevision, for example, was the first pay TV provider to resell HBO NOW to Internet customers, and Dish-owned Sling TV serves up HBO content, as well, though it’s technically not offering the HBO NOW application.
In addition to making HBO NOW available to Internet customers, Verizon’s announcement confirms that the premium channel will be a part of Verizon’s mobile video service Go90, which is expected to launch later this year.
“Our customers want choice in accessing premium content when and where they choose, on a variety of devices,” said Ben Grad, executive director of content strategy and acquisition for Verizon, in a statement about the new deal. “HBO NOW brings compelling content and choice to Verizon broadband customers today – and exciting possibilities for HBO content within Verizon’s pending mobile video service.”
Verizon has already announced several of its mobile video partners already – including names like DreamWorks, Scripps, AwesomenessTV, Vice, ESPN and CBS Sports. And recently, Variety got a glimpse at a version of Verizon’s Go90 website which was briefly (and accidentally) made live. On the site, Variety found there were other still-unannounced partners listed, such as Victorious, GoPro and Vevo, and the site referenced Fox, AMC and NFL as well. (Verizon told Variety that not all the names on the website were representative of done deals.)
Still, having HBO NOW on that growing list of content partners is a notable addition.
It will also make the service more competitive with other newer offerings, like Comcast’s soon-to-launch service called Stream, which includes live TV from broadcast networks along with the option for HBO.
Verizon has yet to announce a launch date for Go90, though Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said on this an earnings call that it will debut in the “late summer.”
[*Disclosure: TechCrunch parent company AOL is now owned by Verizon.]