HBO announced Monday that its new stand-alone Internet streaming service will cost $14.99 a month and be available exclusively on Apple devices when it makes its debut in early April, in time for the new season of its most-watched series, "Game of Thrones."
Called "HBO Now," the offering does not require that people subscribe to traditional cable or satellite service. It will offer all of HBO's original programming, past and present, as well as its movie offerings. HBO also is in talks with other distributors and digital partners to offer the streaming service.
People who subscribe to the service in April will receive the first month free.
"This is a transformative moment for HBO," Richard Plepler, HBO's chief executive, said from the stage of an Apple event in San Francisco.
Anticipation for HBO's new digital streaming service has been mounting since October, when the company first announced plans to start an Internet offering. The new service steps up its rivalry with digital-first streaming outlets like Netflix and Amazon. It also puts more pressure on the established television business, which takes in $170 billion a year in revenue.
The new service is part of a growing wave of offerings this year from media, telecom and technology companies. Dish Network, the satellite provider, recently unveiled a new Web-based offering that includes ESPN and a number of other popular networks for $20 a month. CBS and Sony also are starting Internet-only subscription offerings.
The companies are fighting to stay relevant to a generation of so-called cord-cutters or cord-nevers, who pay for Internet access but not traditional TV subscriptions. This growing segment of the audience watches television shows and movies via streaming.
NEW YORK TIMES