Standalone HBO Now subscriptions at 800,000, says network's CEO

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Despite launching almost a year ago with a publicity boost by Apple, HBO Now currently has just 800,000 subscribers, the head of the premium network revealed on Wednesday.




"I wouldn't say only 800,000 subs," Richard Plepler commented during a Time Warner results call, as reported by Re/code. "We're just getting started... I think we're going to make a lot of progress."

Plepler argued that the service was doing well for something briefly limited by an exclusivity deal with Apple. When the service launched on April 7 last year, it was made exclusive to iOS devices and the third-generation Apple TV for a three-month period, coinciding with the fifth season of Game of Thrones. That kept it off Android devices during a critical period, as well as hardware like Rokus and the Google Chromecast.

Plepler said that in 2016 HBO will be making a bigger marketing push for Now, including highlighting new content from talent like Jon Stewart and Bill Simmons.

Until today the service's subscriber numbers were kept out of the public eye, possibly because HBO was anticipating more rapid adoption. U.S. audiences are increasingly turning to Internet-only video and abandoning cable and satellite TV, which are still HBO's lifeblood.

It's unknown whether HBO might be included in Apple streaming bundle rumored for later this year, but the network is already available through some other streaming providers, such as Sling TV.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    $8 million in additional monthly sales is nothing to scoff at even if a percentage of those subscribers are a result of customers dropping HBO from their cable packages. 
    williamlondonlolliverpmz
  • Reply 2 of 19
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    "has just 800,000 subscribers"... Really? Just? Not knowing the split with Apple hard to say what their actual take is but that's $144,000,000 in annual revenue being generated! That deserves greater recognition than "just", especially as a new income stream.
    williamlondonlolliverpmz
  • Reply 3 of 19
    Seems to me that's 800,000 more subscribers than they had before.  I subscribe to HBO via Dish Network, so I use the HBOGo app on my iPad and iPhone.  No need for this.
    williamlondoncornchippmz
  • Reply 4 of 19
    It would be nice to know how many new subscribers they have acquired. I switched from Comcast to Now, so I don't count, or do I.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    levilevi Posts: 344member
    Hard to know if this is high or low without more context. Keep in mind, HBO also has its regular cable subscription service, which millions use. HBO Now is a nice service, and I generally prefer thier content to Netflix. That said, it is not cheap. Also, I suspect would prefer a wider selection of titles. 
  • Reply 6 of 19
    As a cord cutter, I cancelled my HBO Now subscription and went with xfinity Stream TV, which in addition to HBO (including HBO Go) gives me live local channels, and a cloud based DVR that I can access from my iPhone, iPad, and any computer browser. This service is $15/month as well so the better deal for me. 
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 7 of 19
    It will be much more than this if they don't vigorously do geo-fence. I cancelled the subscription after a couple of months not because I wanted to but because they made it too hard.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 8 of 19
    As a cord cutter, I cancelled my HBO Now subscription and went with xfinity Stream TV, which in addition to HBO (including HBO Go) gives me live local channels, and a cloud based DVR that I can access from my iPhone, iPad, and any computer browser. This service is $15/month as well so the better deal for me. 
    Are you able to watch on your big screen TV via Apple TV or ??. Maybe through Airplay? This sounds good but if I can only watch on a computer or IOS devices then it does not work for me.
  • Reply 9 of 19
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,966member
    As a cord cutter, I cancelled my HBO Now subscription and went with xfinity Stream TV, which in addition to HBO (including HBO Go) gives me live local channels, and a cloud based DVR that I can access from my iPhone, iPad, and any computer browser. This service is $15/month as well so the better deal for me. 
    That's not a bad deal. Is that a 6 or 12 month deal and then prices get jacked up? I think $15 for HBO alone is to much unless that's pretty much all you watch. At that point, why have any other cable channels wasting even more money. As a cable cutter for about 4 years now, about the only thing I watch on HBO is Game of Thrones. To me, the smart thing is just wait for the season to be over, then sign up for a month. Binge watch the whole season in that month and anything else you want and then Cancel and repeat the next season. Now you can watch like a season on Netflix and you got a great dead at $15 total for the whole season of GOT and anything else you may happen to want to watch. As a cable cutter, it's these type of tricks that really save you money. Why pay $180 for a year? It's 100% Legal!!!
  • Reply 10 of 19
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,966member
    kent909 said:
    As a cord cutter, I cancelled my HBO Now subscription and went with xfinity Stream TV, which in addition to HBO (including HBO Go) gives me live local channels, and a cloud based DVR that I can access from my iPhone, iPad, and any computer browser. This service is $15/month as well so the better deal for me. 
    Are you able to watch on your big screen TV via Apple TV or ??. Maybe through Airplay? This sounds good but if I can only watch on a computer or IOS devices then it does not work for me.
    HBO Now is on all kinds of streaming devices including AppleTV!!! For Cable subscription then you use HBO GO which is on most also including AppleTV I believe.
  • Reply 11 of 19
    HBO Now as good content but it is expensive.
    The should sell it to Apple and they will automatically get a lot more users and a lower price.


  • Reply 12 of 19
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,047member
    So now they'll open it up to other platforms, net s whole 200K more subscribers, realise one-app-per-network was always a terrible idea and become a channel partner for the TV/Movie version of Apple Music.

    In my dreams!
  • Reply 13 of 19
    Despite what tech writers keep saying, cord cutters still represent a tiny minority of the viewing audience.

    Pay TV subscriptions still account for over 80% of US households. That's roughly 100 million customers that already have the HBO option available. And HBO's existing subscriber base numbers around 28 million US homes. Those subscribers already have full access to HBO Go, plus all of the live channels; and the cost is roughly the same as or less than HBO Now. From my experience, I'd much rather watch or record from the live HD channels. Better picture quality and none of the hiccups I get with streaming channels. 

    If we're talking about 20 million households that do not have a pay TV subscription, then HBO's maxed audience for the standalone product is only about 6 million subscribers, generously assuming that HBO would capture an equal portion of the cord cutting audience that they currently do with pay TV customers. Figure that a large number of cord cutters don't believe in paying anything for TV, and also figure that some of them already use HBO Go with a shared password from friends or family (HBO has indicated that they do not discourage families from sharing passwords to access HBO Go). HBO Now is a growth opportunity. But, still one with a very limited top side.

    The overall number of pay TV households is indeed shrinking. But, that rate of decline remains very slow.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 14 of 19
    jbdragon said:
    As a cord cutter, I cancelled my HBO Now subscription and went with xfinity Stream TV, which in addition to HBO (including HBO Go) gives me live local channels, and a cloud based DVR that I can access from my iPhone, iPad, and any computer browser. This service is $15/month as well so the better deal for me. 
    That's not a bad deal. Is that a 6 or 12 month deal and then prices get jacked up? I think $15 for HBO alone is to much unless that's pretty much all you watch. At that point, why have any other cable channels wasting even more money. As a cable cutter for about 4 years now, about the only thing I watch on HBO is Game of Thrones. To me, the smart thing is just wait for the season to be over, then sign up for a month. Binge watch the whole season in that month and anything else you want and then Cancel and repeat the next season. Now you can watch like a season on Netflix and you got a great dead at $15 total for the whole season of GOT and anything else you may happen to want to watch. As a cable cutter, it's these type of tricks that really save you money. Why pay $180 for a year? It's 100% Legal!!!
    But, by waiting so that you can binge watch, you lose that "water cooler" effect from everybody talking about the latest episode. With Game of Thrones especially, the social media traffic after certain episodes makes it almost impossible to avoid spoilers if you don't watch the episode soon after the initial broadcast. Keep in mind that regular HBO subscriber counts went up after they introduced HBO Go. That allowed people to catch up with any number of HBO series. Got people hooked and once the latest season premiered, it went back to a weekly schedule.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    kent909 said:
    As a cord cutter, I cancelled my HBO Now subscription and went with xfinity Stream TV, which in addition to HBO (including HBO Go) gives me live local channels, and a cloud based DVR that I can access from my iPhone, iPad, and any computer browser. This service is $15/month as well so the better deal for me. 
    Are you able to watch on your big screen TV via Apple TV or ??. Maybe through Airplay? This sounds good but if I can only watch on a computer or IOS devices then it does not work for me.
    There are no apps for it other than for iPhone/iPad (and I assume Android phones and tablets). The apps do not have AirPlay. They even discontinued their Xbox app prior to this being released.

    What I did was to set up an older (2009 maybe? It can run Windows 10) Windows Laptop and connect it to the VGA port on my TV. Would also work with an HDMI Equipped Mac. AirPlay as a Mac screen mirror should work, too. I have a wireless mouse and keyboard. I use this for Live content (Football, basically. Or, for shows I DVR and want to watch that night). Your credentials then allow you to log into the various network apps (NBC, ABC, Fox, HBO Go) and use them on the Apple TV. It does NOT carry over to the CBS App, however.jbdragon said:
    As a cord cutter, I cancelled my HBO Now subscription and went with xfinity Stream TV, which in addition to HBO (including HBO Go) gives me live local channels, and a cloud based DVR that I can access from my iPhone, iPad, and any computer browser. This service is $15/month as well so the better deal for me. 
    That's not a bad deal. Is that a 6 or 12 month deal and then prices get jacked up? I think $15 for HBO alone is to much unless that's pretty much all you watch. At that point, why have any other cable channels wasting even more money. As a cable cutter for about 4 years now, about the only thing I watch on HBO is Game of Thrones. To me, the smart thing is just wait for the season to be over, then sign up for a month. Binge watch the whole season in that month and anything else you want and then Cancel and repeat the next season. Now you can watch like a season on Netflix and you got a great dead at $15 total for the whole season of GOT and anything else you may happen to want to watch. As a cable cutter, it's these type of tricks that really save you money. Why pay $180 for a year? It's 100% Legal!!!
    As far as I know, it is the price. There is a free first month, and then it is (from the Welcome email):
    When your free month ends you will be charged $10.00 more for Stream TV and up to $5.00 for the Broadcast TV fee per month (plus taxes and fees). If you would like to cancel this service you can do so at any time in the My Services section of My Account

    Total with taxes seems to be about $18.

    It is still rolling out to areas. Was in Boston only last fall, expanded to the Boston Region (where I am, in Southern NH) late last year. Chicago, now, too. More coming, and I think plans are to be everywhere by the end of the year.

    You must have Comcast Internet, and much of the programing, you need to be on your home network to view. However, if you DVR something, you can transfer to your iPhone/iPad via the app and not be bound by your location. If you are in an area that they impose data caps on your home internet, the live viewing does not count toward your data cap.

    So far, I like what this has to offer. It is really the best option for me. I am too far from the towers, and too many trees to get any of the major networks from my house unless I want to go in the attic and start drilling my walls.

    They have also started a user community where they are soliciting feedback. Very few of us in it so far, as it is controlled. The biggest issue/suggestion is Apple TV and Chromecast ability.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 16 of 19
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    levi said:
    Hard to know if this is high or low without more context. 
    It is NOT hard to know at all. Don't give credence to idiotic statements.

    800k x $15/a mon = $144 million/year.

    That'a a fucking good business.
    edited February 2016
  • Reply 17 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    mcdave said:
    So now they'll open it up to other platforms, net s whole 200K more subscribers, realise one-app-per-network was always a terrible idea and become a channel partner for the TV/Movie version of Apple Music.

    In my dreams!
    It is already open on other platforms. The 800K is all platforms combined, not just Apple TV subscribers. 
    gatorguy
  • Reply 18 of 19
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,972member
    pmz said:
    levi said:
    Hard to know if this is high or low without more context. 
    It is NOT hard to know at all. Don't give credence to idiotic statements.

    800k x $15/a mon = $144 million/year.

    That'a a fucking good business.
    No it isn't. That probably doesn't cover their operating expenses. 
  • Reply 19 of 19
    pmz said:
    It is NOT hard to know at all. Don't give credence to idiotic statements.

    800k x $15/a mon = $144 million/year.

    That'a a fucking good business.
    No it isn't. That probably doesn't cover their operating expenses. 
    How would it not cover operating expenses? HBO already built the streaming platform when they introduced HBO Go as a free streaming service for their 28 million pay TV customers back in 2010. HBO Now is basically the same thing as HBO Go only as a standalone service, and HBO has been offering standalone streaming in overseas markets for years. Rather than logging on through a pay TV provider, HBO Now just adds a separate login and payment option. I doubt that implementing that would cost nine figures, since HBO already had the server capacity and platform in place before the service went live in the US.
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