HBO Now for $15 Would Be a Game Changer

Jon Fingas over at Engadget says HBO’s standalone streaming service reportedly costs $15 per month:

Wondering how much HBO’s hyped-up standalone streaming service will cost you when it (hopefully) arrives this April? Considerably more than your Netflix subscription, it seems. The International Business Times hears that the internet-only offering, reportedly called HBO Now, will set you back $15 per month. That’s not extravagant (your TV provider, if you have one, is paying roughly as much behind the scenes), but it reflects the company’s view that this is a premium product.

IF this is true…Game. Changer. $15 per month is about what a person with cable/satellite is paying now for HBO, and in some cases in order to even “qualify” for HBO with some companies there is a minimal plan required. In other words, this could reduce the cost significantly for some people. And depending on where it can be watched, this could truly through the entire model of cable/satellite TV into mayhem. Being able to watch this on an iPhone/iPad/tablet is one thing, but if this can replace HBO Go on Apple TV/Roku/game consoles then this will probably mark the truly beginning of the end for TV as we know it.

Couple this with the recently released Sling TV and the already burgeoning popularity of Netflix and Amazon Prime as more than just “occasional” viewing and so-called cordcutters are going to be able to do most of what they want for a fraction of the current price. Sling TV ($20) + Netflix ($7) + HBO Now ($15) + Amazon Prime ($99/year) mean that for about $50 people could have ESPN, HBO and a buttload of recent/classic shows/movies ready to go (mostly) commercial free and (mostly) on-demand. Like I said, Game Changer.

With Netflix and Amazon producing new series that are both good and award-winning, plus HBO continuing to do the same, it really seems possible that the seismic shift is more real than ever. And the impact of this is going to be massive. Similarly to the way the newspaper industry devolved, this impact will be felt not just with television networks, but to all companies who rely on television advertising.

It will be very interesting to see how large the impact is on advertising, and more importantly if it yields results that TV ads don’t do as much for brands and products as they did 20 years ago anyway. So many people skip commercials with DVRs, and instead find out about products from social networks and other online sources that maybe TV ads don’t matter as much as they used to already. But airtime and production costs are high, so the financial impact could be big.

A buzzword in the last decade (or two) has been “disruption”. The music industry is drastically different than 20 years ago thanks to music piracy, followed by digital downloads, and now streaming services. Newspapers are a joke to anyway under 30, and the thoughts of paying these former newpaper companies for online content appears to be almost as big of a joke to that same demographic. By the time current 10-year olds are 30, the act (or concept) of buying a cable subscription will be a laughing matter.