This is the second shoe to drop from today’s announcement about Dish Network’s carriage agreements with Turner and HBO. The satellite company says that its $20-a-month Sling TV streaming service will offer HBO for an additional $15 beginning before April 12, when the new season of Game Of Thrones premieres.
“HBO delivers hit shows and movies that TV viewers crave, and with this addition we’re adding another heavy hitter to a lineup that includes ESPN, AMC, TNT and more,” Sling TV CEO Roger Lynch says.
The pact might send a shiver down the backs of cable and satellite execs. They wonder whether many of their customers will decide to stop shelling out $80-plus a month for a pay TV package that includes lots of channels they don’t watch in favor of a smaller and less expensive package of streamed channels. HBO is a popular attraction for distributors, but the company recently said that it will offer its programming to people who don’t subscribe to cable or satellite TV via a soon-to-launch streaming service: HBO Now.
Last month HBO said that Apple TV would have exclusive streaming rights to HBO Now for the first three months at $14.99 a month. It’s not clear how the Sling offering will differ: Although Sling doesn’t call the offering HBO Now, it will include “one live channel and the same extensive VOD library HBO provides on its other platforms.”
Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said last month that some cable operators believe HBO Now is “competitive with them and that they should have maintained their ability to be the sole place to get HBO.” But Cablevision broke ranks and said it will offer HBO Now to its broadband customers.
HBO Global Distribution President Tom Woodbury says that it “has always been our desire to make the HBO subscription widely accessible. Sling TV is a part of that ongoing evolution, and we believe HBO is a great addition to the platform.”
Sling TV is available via Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick; current-generation Roku players and Roku TV models; Xbox One; Android and iOS devices; and Macs and PCs.