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Cord-cutters, Rejoice: HBO Will Offer Web Subscription Next Year


Hooray! Cord-cutters everywhere are celebrating the news that HBO plans to offer web-only subscriptions starting in 2015. Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, announced the plan during an investor meeting today. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO,” he said. However, Plepler did not go into detail about what the subscription would offer.

Yess, I can finally cancel cable now. Byeee @TWC! HBO to Offer Stand-Alone Online Subscription in U.S. Next Year http://t.co/q6BE7HMuG3

— David Winograd (@davidwinograd) October 15, 2014

Recode’s Peter Kafka writes that Time Warner is ready to upset the pay-TV structure, even at the risk of upsetting cable companies, especially since Netflix is increasingly a potent competitor.

How upset cable companies will be depends on the details of the subscription. Kafka reports that the company may consider “a ‘windowed’ version of its TV service on the Web, where shows like True Detective and Game of Thrones don’t appear until months after they debut on TV.”

As always, devil's in the details. If it's essentially HBO Go for everyone, it's massive. If it's HBO Lite, deferring to cable, it's lame.

— dwight silverman (@dsilverman) October 15, 2014

Having a web-only option will help the channel with online-TV watchers, who cite flexibility as the main reason for watching original series online. Internet users are becoming more accustomed to consuming what they want, when they want it; HBO is finally adapting to this reality.

Bloomberg reports that a standalone HBO service in Scandinavia and Finland has racked up 380,000 subscribers as of July. That service costs €10 a month.

$150 for cable vs. ~$20 for both Netflix and HBO. Lots of people will choose latter

— Henry Blodget (@hblodget) October 15, 2014

At the time of this writing, Time Warner shares were up 2.48 percent. Netflix shares were down 2.34 percent, despite the news that the streaming service will offer every episode of Friends.

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