HBO is the latest programmer to announce its participation in cable operator Comcast’s “On Demand Online” trial, which will allow 5,000 homes nationwide to stream cable programming online that they already receive as part of their cable TV subscriptions.
The premium programmer will make content from both HBO and Cinemax available as part of the Comcast trial, which is based on Time Warner’s “TV Everywhere” initiative, and will use authentication technology to make sure that only paying subscribers are able to see the broadband content. While broadcast networks have widely made their content available for free through sites like Hulu, cable networks, particularly premium programmers like HBO, have taken a more cautious approach to broadband in order to preserve their existing subscription business model.
The HBO and Cinemax broadband services will initially provide a combined total of 750 hours a month of programming to the Comcast trial, which already counts TNT, TBS and Starz as partners. Featured shows will include HBO series like True Blood, Entourage and The Sopranos, hit movies like Transformers and The Dark Knight, classic films like Rosemary’s Baby, and HBO Family fare such as Harold and the Purple Crayon. A number of the programs will be offered in the high-definition formats, and some new programs will be available online immediately after they air on TV.
“On the heels of the TV Everywhere agreement between Time Warner and Comcast, we’re pleased to be partnering with Comcast to deliver our HBO and Cinemax broadband services on a national level,” said Eric Kessler, HBO Co-President, in a statement. “The broadband services are the latest in a line of digital offerings that have dramatically changed the viewing experience for our subscribers, providing them with more access, choice, and even greater value to their subscriptions."
“HBO is an iconic brand with award winning original programming and exclusive feature films and we are thrilled they are joining us in our mission to make our services available online to our customers,” added Matt Bond, Executive VP of Content Acquisition for Comcast. “For the first time HBO and Cinemax customers around the country will be able to watch their favorite shows and movies online at no additional cost. This agreement is an important milestone in our long-term strategy of enabling customers to watch popular television and movie content when and where they want it.”