Are Cable Companies Lowering HBO Rates In Advance Of Standalone HBO Go?

Though we still don’t know a specific launch date, name, or monthly cost of HBO’s upcoming standalone streaming service, it looks like some pay-TV providers are cutting their rates for the premium service or offering discounted promotions in advance of its debut.

This is according to, which reports that Comcast recently dropped its standard HBO subscription rate from $18.95 to $15, which just happens to be the number that most — including Consumerist readers — are predicting for the HBO streaming service.

What’s more, Comcast is apparently offering a promotion that cuts the monthly rate to $10 for people who order online.

Comcast’s proposed merger partner is also offering that same discounted rate for online orderers of HBO.

That’s the same introductory price that Verizon FiOS is now offering customers for 12 months, doubling its previous promotional offer of six months at $10. Though it still looks like the price will jump to $20/month after that year passes.

TVpredictions notes that Comcast also dropped its standard monthly price on Showtime and Starz from $17 to $12, which may or may not have anything to do with the fact that both of these premium networks have said they plan to get into the standalone streaming business.

Several signs point to cable companies selling access to the HBO streaming service, which would allow them to continue making money off these premium channels.

That might explain why the satellite providers, Dish and DirecTV, have not dropped their HBO rates, as they don’t currently offer an all-in-one TV and broadband service like the terrestrial cable operators. They do stand to lose some business from subscribers who no longer have a reason to pay for live TV, but at the same time many of their customers — especially those in rural areas — may not have broadband access that would be fast enough to handle HD video streaming.

Again, until HBO finally pulls the curtain off its service, much of this is speculation.


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