HBO's subscription streaming service will be called HBO Now and is expected to cost $15 per month, according to the International Business Times. The report says that HBO is targeting a launch for Now in early April, ahead of the start date for Game of Thrones. While Game of Thrones would be a great way for HBO to drive subscriptions to the new service, it'll have to be careful if it plans to do that: last year, HBO's online streaming option for cable subscribers, HBO Go, wouldn't work for many who were trying to watch during the premiere. That would be a very bad look for a new service, and the Times says that HBO doesn't plan on launching until it's satisfied that it can do so without issue.
$15/month would make HBO's service nearly twice the cost of Netflix
Apple is reportedly one of the partners that HBO could launch its new service with. According to the Times, Apple has been aggressive in its attempts to secure a place as one of HBO's launch partners. If a deal is made, Apple TV users would be able to access and stream HBO Now, potentially through a standalone app. Apple has been adding more and more channels to the Apple TV over the last couple years, and the addition of HBO's subscription streaming service would make its device all the more appealing. The Times notes that HBO's parent company wants to see this service be accessible on platforms like the Roku, Xbox, and PlayStation as well, but it's not clear if discussions are ongoing. Nonetheless, it seems likely that HBO would want to work with multiple major partners to get this service out there.
It's still not known what HBO's subscription streaming service will actually offer. Though many will hope for the same access that HBO Go receives — that is, all of HBO's original content and the movies it's currently playing — it's possible that won't be the case. HBO may want to position this service as something distinctly different from its cable service as a way to prevent subscribers from moving online. On the other hand, the $15 per month fee may mean that HBO is earning about as much regardless of how you subscribe. That price would make it tougher to compete with Netflix, but HBO hasn't exactly had trouble finding people willing to pay subscription fees that high in the past. With the even wider audience that this service will open it up to, HBO may not be that worried.