Media

HBO delivers a blow to US cable firms, planning to stream shows like Game of Thrones directly to viewers

By John McCarthy | Media editor

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October 15, 2014 | 3 min read

HBO will launch a streaming service in the US, providing consumers with an alternative to subscribing to expensive cable packages to catch shows like game of Thrones.

The broadcaster’s CEO, Richard Plepler, on Wednesday said the move would remove all the barriers to those who want HBO, in a move which may cut down on piracy by providing consumers inexpensive access to the content.

The service may also cut down on online piracy

Details remain scarce on the move but it will likely upset the major cable companies many of which are dependent upon HBO’s high-demand programming.

James McQuivey, an analyst at tech-research firm Forrester, told the Drum that HBO’s announcement will put the fear into US satellite TV providers, he said: “Their worst fear has come true: HBO has announced it will give customers direct, over-the-top access to its hit TV shows without requiring a cable or satellite subscription.

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“This move was inevitable from the moment that people started streaming TV shows on line as HBO has some of the most prized content on the TV screen and it appeals strongly to the young, affluent, educated demographic that is most likely to cut the cable cord in the next five to ten years.

“While Pay TV operators are certainly furious today, other cable programmers like Viacom and A&E are thrilled that HBO is shining a light down a path they may all have to contemplate in the future.”

McQuivey added: “None of them will have as easy a time as will HBO, but they all know they need an escape hatch for that moment when the current, bundled TV model begins to collapse.”

Traditional media companies are looking to upset the status quo of late with Netflix announcing on Tuesday that it will be looking to release its exclusive movies in theatres and on the site concurrently.

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