Verizon latest to market HBO Now sans pay-TV subscription

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) has joined Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) as the second pay-TV operator to offer HBO Now without requiring a pay-TV service.

Starting immediately, HBO's direct-to-consumer OTT platform will be available for its standard price, $14.99, to both Verizon FiOS broadband and Verizon DSL customers. These broadband users can also try out the service for free for 30 days. For these subscribers, HBO Now will be viewable on Apple, Android and Amazon mobile devices, as well as Apple TV.

Verizon will also offer users of its soon-to-launch, ad-supported mobile video service, which is rumored to be called Go90, select short-form and promotional videos from HBO. The new mobile programming service will not support the full HBO Now, however.

FiOS video subscribers will continue to access the premium channel, and its HBO Go multiscreen extension, through traditional means.

Cablevision has been marketing HBO Now with various broadband products since the a la carte programming service launched in early April. The programming service is also available on Dish Networks' (NASDAQ: DISH) skinny OTT bundle, Sling TV. As Re/code notes, HBO is still very interested in having Comcast distribute HBO, unbundled, along with its broadband products. Comcast is reportedly resisting that, but is including HBO in the skinny "Stream" bundle it is currently beta testing and plans to launch later this year.

One analyst suggested that the streaming HBO Now may already have had around 850,000 subscribers entering July.

"Our customers want choice in accessing premium content when and where they choose, on a variety of devices," said Ben Grad, executive director of content strategy and acquisition for Verizon. "HBO Now brings compelling content and choice to Verizon broadband customers today -- and exciting possibilities for HBO content within Verizon's pending mobile video service."

"This agreement with Verizon represents the commitment our companies share to respond to changing consumer behavior through innovation, bringing audiences the best in entertainment the way they want it," said Jeff Dallesandro, senior VP, worldwide digital distribution and business development for HBO.

For more:
- read this HBO press release
- read this Wall Street Journal story
- read this Re/code story
- read this Variety story

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