Would you pay $15 a month for a service that let you watch all of HBO's content without the bulky ball and chain of a cable subscription?
Apart from the format it will take, pricing is the number one question mark surrounding HBO's just-announced plunge into cordcutting. How much will a standalone HBO subscription service cost?
About as much as it costs when paired with a cable subscription, according to a report.
Martin Peers writes for The Information that a source close to the matter says the new cable-free offering will be priced at around $15 or so a month, or close to as much as HBO costs nowadays. Apparently, it's unlikely to be any less than that.
Of course, this puts the hypothetical HBO streaming service on a shelf above competitors like Netflix ($8), Hulu Plus ($8) and Amazon Prime (a little over $8 a month when averaged out from yearly price).
Then again, none of those companies make Game of Thrones. At least not yet. Netflix is the closest so far to offering truly great original programming.
Despite the not-insignificant price gap, there is precedent for people being willing to pay more for HBO. Remember that Take My Money, HBO campaign that generated nearly 200,000 tweets? Thousands of people tweeted at price at HBO, basically saying here, this is what I would pay if you would just offer a standalone HBO Go damnit.
Someone analyzed those tweets and found that the average price people said they would pay was a little over $12. And there were plenty of tweets that said $15, $20, and even more.
But the reality is more complicated. Why pay that much for HBO when you can just pirate it. Why pay that much for HBO when you can just use someone else's HBO Go password? Why pay that much for HBO when HBO basically only offers its own shows and original movies, plus a handful of about 100 other movies?
Speaking of which, HBO is going to have to make some deals to populate any hypothetical streaming service with more movies.
Anyway, the market for an HBO $15-a-month standalone streaming service is there. How big is that market? I guess we'll see sometime in the next year. That's HBO's timeline for unveiling this new venture.
Image via HBO, YouTube