A few minutes ago, Apple just made history. Not with the Apple Watch, or the amount of iPhones sold, or the largest market cap (they seem to rewrite the record on those every couple hours). No, they made history by sidestepping cable companies as the first way to legitimately watch HBO without a cable subscription.
This is a really BIG deal. Here's why.
HBO’s reluctance to compete with Netflix on its home turf (digital streaming) has been the canary in the coal mine for everything that is wrong with cable providers' contractual monopolies. Netflix has proven that people want to consume high quality streaming content; as of last year, they have 40 million active subscribers. It makes next to no sense that HBO wouldn’t want to appeal to that same audience—and they haven’t been, because of insane pressure from cable providers.
But now that HBO has broken the seal, offering HBO Now at 14.99/month exclusively on the freshly priced Apple TV at $69, it’s safe to say that we’re about to see a radical shift in the way cable providers are approaching the premium content landscape. They’ll be forced to realize that once you remove the cumbersome and outdated cable boxes currently gathering dust in homes across the nation, the quality of their customer’s experience increases ten fold.
As always, empowering the customer is the best the way to go. One question remains though: how long is their exclusivity agreement going to last?