HBO Says Streaming Service Will Be Priced As “Premium Product”

The Boltons just want to know when they can finally get rid of their cable bill and still watch new episodes of Veep.

The Boltons just want to know when they can finally get rid of their cable bill and still watch new episodes of Veep.

HBO is still being stingy with the details on its upcoming standalone streaming service, but this morning the network’s CEO did give some vague idea of what the pricing would be.

“It’s a premium product and it will be priced accordingly,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler told industry analysts early on Wednesday, according to Variety.

That would seem to indicate that the $15-20/month estimate that many prognosticators have put on the service is accurate, as it would be about double the cost of Netflix and Hulue ($8/month each), Amazon Prime ($99/year, which comes out to $8.25/month), and about the same as Dish’s recently launched Sling TV, which charges $20/month.

The question is whether or not HBO programming is worth that much. After all, the presumably less expensive Netflix and Amazon have only recently gotten into the original programming game and have already won over critics and fans with originals like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Transparent.

“It’s true there’s a plethora of competition out there, but it’s also true that more is not better,” admitted Plepler. “Only better is better.”

He believes that HBO’s exclusive content like Game of Thrones and True Detective will be enough to woo the hoped-for 10 million users to the new service.

“I like our hand a lot,” said Plepler. “We’re going to get a first look at most everything that we want to make an investment in, in terms of content.”

But what about HBO’s recent decision to give Amazon Prime access to the vaunted HBO library? Prime subscribers don’t need HBO, or even pay-TV, to watch the full archive of shows like The Sopranos or Thw Wire.

According to Plepler, this decision to open up the HBO vault to others has only expanded interest in the network’s new content, saying that the availability of HBO shows on Amazon Prime “only has a catalytic effect of driving people back to the network.”