HBO Now is a competitor to pay-TV, WSJ says...but that may not be so bad

Starting this Sunday HBO may reshape the way people think of premium TV. It may also spell trouble for traditional pay-TV operators, despite HBO's efforts to the contrary.

While the premium network, which launched HBO Now on Tuesday to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) device users and Cablevision Optimum (NYSE: CVC) broadband subscribers, isn't abandoning its bread-and-butter relationships with pay TV subscribers, it is stepping outside the box with the standalone service. And that spells danger, a Wall Street Journal article says.

"HBO Now represents the latest step in the evolution of the distribution of TV content: a cable network becoming a competitor to its traditional partners by teaming up with a powerful technology partner with big dreams of getting into TV," according to the article.

All of this is not necessarily a bad thing for MVPDs who, faced with a growing crowd of cord cutters, have already begun offering limited bundles of broadband, some basic channels and HBO.

"Many of these plans cost less than HBO Now plus standalone broadband service," a Wall Street Journal story pointed out.

Also, Apple's special relationship with HBO is a limited engagement since it expires in 90 days, opening the door for the likes of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Fire TV, Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Play and Roku to make the premium channel available to their customers. Apple, meanwhile, has bigger plans and is reportedly negotiating with content providers to launch an online TV service.

For more:
- read this WSJ story (sub. req.)

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