Verizon just became the largest broadband provider to offer HBO’s OTT channel HBO NOW. Verizon’s broadband subscribers can access the OTT channel immediately, and some version of it will soon be made available to Verizon’s 100 million wireless subscribers. The move illustrates the rapidly evolving digital media space and the ascension of direct access to premium OTT content.
Verizon broadband customers, including FiOS and DSL, can now go OTT with HBO NOW and are being offered a free 30 day trial. The HBO NOW app can be downloaded on an Android phone or tablet, Amazon Fire Tablet, iPhone, iPad or Apple TV. I assume more platforms will be made available in the future.
The service is not offered to Verizon FiOS TV customers, who will have to access HBO content the old fashioned way (unless of course they go direct to HBO). Verizon will offer HBO NOW for $14.99/month. Verizon joins Cablevision as the only broadband providers who have HBO NOW distribution deals. For now.
“This agreement with Verizon represents the commitment our companies share to respond to changing consumer behavior through innovation, bringing audiences the best in entertainment the way they want it,” said Jeff Dallesandro, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Business Development for HBO in a press release. “We’re excited to evolve our partnership with Verizon and bring HBO programming to a new generation of broadband-only customers.”
The wild card here is the mobile angle. Verizon has 100 million wireless customers, a pretty enticing target for any distribution partner. Although we don’t know what the details of this agreement means for Verizon wireless customers.
Verizon’s eagerly anticipated mobile first OTT service is on deck, but it’s not clear what role HBO NOW will play in that offer. The press release says “HBO content will also be coming soon to Verizon’s upcoming mobile video platform.” That doesn’t sound like a full blown HBO NOW app, especially considering recent reports suggest that Verizon will offer their mobile OTT service, reportedly called go90, free of charge. At least some version of it.
But the press release does say the agreement “includes the right for Verizon to distribute [HBO NOW] …to Verizon digital platforms, including to more than 100 million Verizon Wireless customers.” It appears that elements of HBO content will be made available to wireless customers initially, with potentially some form of a bundled HBO NOW app to come later.