HBO stirred a hornet's nest with its announced plan to offer its standalone HBO Now service exclusively on Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) TV.
Among the repercussions: DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) is offering a $50 prepaid Visa card to any customer subscribing to HBO between now and April 15; Cox is holding discussions "to learn more about HBO Now;" and Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) continued to take heat from Sony PS3 and PS4 users who can't get HBO through their devices, even though they're subscribed to Comcast's Xfinity and HBO.
DirecTV currently charges $17.95 a month for HBO. A new subscriber will have the option to use the card to get HBO for $4 per month over the next three months--or they can pay the full price for HBO and use the card for something else. The potentially sticky issue for DirecTV, though, is whether that offer will be extended to its existing customers with HBO. Although the satellite service has nothing about the offer on its Web site, TVPredictions.com said subscribers will learn of the offer via an e-mail. The other qualifier is that these new subscribers keep HBO for at least three months.
Aside from DirecTV, a Cox spokesman told Broadcasting & Cable that the MSO has "a good relationship with HBO" and, while it believes most subscribers "prefer to access video via digital cable bundles for convenience, service quality and the unmatched value," Cox is nonetheless in discussion with HBO about the possibility of evolving its offerings "to better meet consumer needs."
Finally, Comcast continues to roil a segment of its Xfinity subscribers, who, although subscribing to HBO, cannot access the pay network through their PS3 and PS4 gaming devices. Comcast's decision to exclude the Sony gaming devices is not technical: it's a "business decision," according to a story in Techworm, which cited a Comcast spokesperson.
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