HBO NOW was a huge risk for Time Warner when it launched. It risked upsetting its partners at the large cable companies.
Yet the risk seems to be paying off because in 2016 HBO NOW added 1.2 million new subscribers.
“It’s accelerated very quickly, and I think it shows what we’ve said all along, which is the more opportunities we have to distribute HBO through a multitude of different distribution services and give our consumers the option to get it however and wherever they want, the better it is for our brand,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler said.
At the start of 2016 Time Warner reported that HBO had about 800,000 subscribers. Now HBO’s standalone over-the-top streaming product HBO NOW has more than 2 million subscribers, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts.
This is only half the story because HBO is now on a wide range of other services including Amazon, Sling TV, and DIRECTV NOW. These additional services are not included in the 2 million who subscribe to HBO NOW.
“Certainly, there’s an opportunity for that between DIRECTV NOW, Sling, and Sony. Each of them have really started to gain traction very recently, proving that there is consumer demand for smaller video packages with top networks at lower prices,” Martin said.
HBO’s CEO also hinted that HBO will be coming to more services in 2017. “There will be other digital partners that you will see announced in the coming weeks and months and that’s why we’re so optimistic not only about our traditional business but our OTT business as well,” Plepler said.
It is possible that the total number of Americans subscribing to HBO through nontraditional services is much higher than the 2 million subscribers number.
At $15 a month HBO is bringing in about $30 million dollars every month from its HBO NOW service. Hopefully other networks will take note of HBO’s success.
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