Rumor had it that HBO's long-awaited standalone streaming service, thought to be called HBO Now, could launch as an exclusive partnership with Apple.
Today, that was confirmed at Apple's "Spring Forward" event.
— HBO (@HBO) March 9, 2015
Apple announced that HBO Now would be coming exclusively to Apple devices – Apple TV, iPhone, iPad. It's a huge deal for Apple and HBO alike, but the exclusivity of the deal will no doubt perturb some cordcutters who've been waiting for a cable-less HBO offering for many years.
Ideally, HBO would have simply launched an HBO GO-style streaming platform, let people sign up without a cable subscription, and make it available on multiple platforms. But alas, Apple snagged this one.
It'll cost $15 per month and the first month is free if you subscribe in April, ahead of the premiere of Game of Thrones.
Apple did just cut the price of Apple TV to $69, however, so there's that.
UPDATE 1: HBO says that it'll continue to discuss HBO NOW with "its existing network of distributors and new digital partners."
HBO via email: "HBO continues to be in discussions with its existing network of distributors and new digital partners to offer HBO NOW".
— Ed Bott (@edbott) March 9, 2015
UPDATE 2: According to CNN's senior media correspondent Brian Stelter, Apple's exclusivity will last for three months:
Apple has a three-month exclusive window with HBO NOW. Then other distributors (Comcast, Verizon, etc) can sell it.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 9, 2015
UPDATE 3: the signup site is live.
@brianstelter no. existing partners can sell it before. Apple has the exclusive for new distributors (ie - digital).
— Peter Kafka (@pkafka) March 9, 2015
This is developing...