The Netflix-HBO rivalry has recently gone global as both of the content giants have targeted some northern European countries for international expansion. New numbers out of Sweden show just how comprehensively Netflix is hammering HBO in the early innings. Swedish research firm MMS has published its most recent numbers for the September-October period showing that Netflix reaches an estimated 308,000 daily viewers while HBO Nordic captures a paltry 17,000 daily viewers. More →
As the producer of the world’s most pirated television show, you might think that HBO would be very eager to crack down on illegal streaming of Game of Thrones. However, the company has been surprisingly sanguine about all the BitTorrent users around the world who illegally watch its hit show every week. Now Business Insider reports that Time Warner, Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes said recently that Game of Thrones piracy is a net positive for HBO because it creates more word-of-mouth excitement and it gives HBO more new subscribers than it takes away. More →
Happy news for everyone who picked up a Chromecast dongle last week: You could soon use it to stream HBO GO on your television. GIgaOM reports that HBO is in ongoing talks to “bring the cable network’s online offering to Chromecast,” although there’s no timetable for when HBO GO will be available for Google’s new device that lets you stream content from Android, iOS and Chrome from your smartphone, tablet or computer directly to your television. Chromecast already supports mobile apps such as Pandora, Google Music, YouTube and Netflix, so it’s not surprising that it’s working to bring HBO GO on board as well. GigaOM also says that both Vimeo and Redbox Instant will also soon support Chromecast.
It’s a pretty good bet that HBO could expand its paying audience for Game of Thrones if it gave viewers the option to buy season passes on iTunes or Amazon like other shows do. TorrentFreak has published some pretty astonishing numbers showing that Game of Thrones’ third season premiere was downloaded illegally by roughly 5.2 million people, which is just 1.5 million fewer than the 6.7 million viewers who watched the episode the first night that it aired on HBO. What’s more, the show’s 5.2 million illegal downloads are 79% greater than The Big Bang Theory, which TorrentFreak says was the second-most pirated show in the world this past spring with 2.9 million illegal downloads.
HBO’s chief executive Richard Plepler made waves earlier this year when he indicated that the company may expand its HBO GO offering to non-cable subscribers. The executive noted that in the future, HBO could potentially team up with Internet providers to offer the popular streaming service to customers separately from pay-TV packages. Cord cutters shouldn’t celebrate just yet, however. Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner, said on Wednesday that the company has no plans to offer HBO GO without a cable subscription. More →
Good news for Google Fiber subscribers who want to follow the adventures of Tyrion Lannister and the Stark family: Google on Tuesday announced that its Fiber television service will now offer HBO for an additional $20 per month. The entire $20 monthly package includes not just HBO but also HBO2, HBO Signature, HBO Family, HBO Latino, HBO Comedy, and HBO Zone. A similar Cinemax channel bundle is also now available for $10 per month. Google has been slowly working to add more channels to its Fiber television service to compete with cable operators such as Time Warner Cable by delivering both a comprehensive pay television service as well as the fastest broadband Internet service in the United States.
While some companies are looking to end piracy across the entertainment industry, one major player doesn’t think it’s quite the crisis it’s often made out to be. HBO’s hit show Games of Thrones is the most-pirated TV show on the Internet with more than 4 million illegal downloads per episode, however the company’s programming president Michael Lombardo believes piracy is a “compliment” to the show and has actually helped sales. In February, Game of Thrones season two was released to record-setting DVD sales, becoming the company’s biggest first-day home video release with sales of 241,000 units, an increase of 44% over season one, and sales of individual episodes reached 355,000, up 112% from season one. More →
Spotify is reportedly planning a major change that will put it in direct competition with Netflix (NFLX) and other video streaming services. According to Business Insider, the on-demand music service is interested in expanding to become an on-demand video service alongside its music offerings. Spotify is also said to be looking for partners that will help it fund and create exclusive content such as original TV series, similar to how Netflix has found success in producing its own content with its hit show House of Cards. Spotify is used by more than 20 million people, and has over 1 million paid subscribers in the U.S. and more than 5 million worldwide.
Cord-cutters rejoice: HBO’s chief executive Richard Plepler this week indicated that the company may expand its offering of HBO GO to non-cable subscribers. The executive revealed to Reuters that in the future it may team up with Internet providers to offer the popular streaming service to customers. More →
HBO excited subscribers on Tuesday when it announced during the D: Dive Into Media conference that its HBO GO and MAX GO iOS apps were updated with AirPlay support. The news meant iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users could finally stream content from their devices to Apple TV boxes connected to a television set. Following the announcement, AllThingsD pressed further to determine if the news meant that we might soon see true Apple TV support, or even an a la carte programming option. More →
HBO on Monday updated its popular content streaming app to support tablets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. HBO GO allows HBO subscribers with select cable providers to stream HBO content such as Game of Thrones, True Blood, The Sopranos and a wide range of movies to their mobile devices. The application was previously available for Android 4.0-powered handsets, although tablets were suspiciously left unsupported until HBO last month updated the app with support for Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The latest update, however, does not include support for Google’s upcoming Nexus 7 tablet — the first device to run Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. More →
Microsoft has begun to roll out an update for its Xbox Live service that includes new on-demand content from Comcast, along with apps from HBO and MLB, GigaOM reported on Monday. The launch these services will give users the ability to search through a wide range of content directly from their game console. In October, Microsoft announced a number of new content partners that would deliver movies, television shows and other content to its popular Xbox 360 game console. The system had already received updates that included apps from Verizon, Epix, Vevo, Vudu and YouTube. The launch of HBO Go comes as little surprise. In February, the company’s co-president Eric Kessler told reporters that the Xbox HBO Go app would go live on April 1st, in time for the season premiere of “Game of Thrones.” Microsoft fans noted that the company always releases updates on Tuesdays, however, and it was unlikely for HBO to roll out an update the day of the premiere to avoid download complications. More →
Roku on Tuesday announced a new $50 Roku LT player, the latest member of the company’s family of streaming media devices. The Roku LT supports 720p HD video, has built-in Wi-Fi, and provides access to 300 channels including Amazon Instant Video, Pandora, EPIX, Disney, Crackle, Hulu Plus and Netflix. “Our goal is a Roku in every home,” Roku CEO Anthony Wood said. “The Roku LT opens up streaming to more people by lowering the cost of entry in these difficult economic times. With a $49 price and selection of more than 300 channels we expect the Roku LT will be everyone’s favorite Holiday device.” Additionally, Roku announced a new HBO GO partnership that provides on-demand access to 1,400 HBO movies and TV shows. Users must already subscribe to HBO through their cable provider in order to take advantage of this feature, however. The Roku LT will be available in early November from Roku’s website, Amazon and retail stores. Read on for the full press release. More →