Apple’s ‘exclusive’ HBO deal becomes even less exclusive

“Another company is grabbing the first-mover advantage in carrying HBO’s new Internet television service,” Joshua Brustein reports for Bloomberg. “On Wednesday, April 1, Sling TV announced it will be ‘the first live Internet TV service’ to offer HBO content. For $15 a month, Sling TV subscribers can add HBO to their Internet television packages. The companies didn’t announce an exact launch date, but they did say it would be available in time for the season premiers of Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley on April 12.”

“The announcement comes less than a month after Richard Plepler, HBO’s chief executive, took the stage at an Apple event and said that company would be the exclusive carrier of HBO Now,” Brustein reports. “While the companies didn’t announce it from the stage, the exclusivity didn’t extend to pay TV providers, which could still strike deals with HBO. Soon after Apple’s announcement, Cablevision said it would become the first cable company to offer HBO Now to broadband-only subscribers.”

“Wednesday’s announcements didn’t explicitly describe the service as HBO Now, maintaining Apple’s supposed exclusivity. HBO said Sling is owned by a pay TV provider (Dish) and so Apple still has an exclusive for non-pay TV companies,” Brustein reports. “Getting HBO on a non-Apple device also requires subscribing to Sling’s $20-a-month service, at least for now.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So, getting HBO on a non-Apple device costs $35 per month vs. $15 per month on an Apple device. We’ll take Apple’s so-called non-exclusive exclusive, thanks. We get to use superior devices with HBO for $20 less per month than those who settle for inferior devices. What’s not to like?

Related articles:
Apple provides HBO with leverage to use against cable and satellite providers – March 13, 2015
HBO Now standalone service exclusive for Apple devices until summer – March 10, 2015
HBO NOW premiers in April for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV – March 9, 2015


  1. I suppose MDN’s take would be valid if a customer ONLY got the HBO service on Sling.. Highly unlikely.. Seems you get 21 channels for the base $20 and at least 5 more channels for each of their current 5 add-on packages for $5. ( Adding just HBO will make the average cost per channel about $1.60.

    To compare, for purchasing the Apple TV, you have 50 participating providers. Seems impressive till you read the footnote “Subscription may be required to access some content.”

  2. I just got sling for $20 and it’s amazing. 21 channels including 2 ESPN’s, and it’s a cherry pick of the best cable channels. I have it installed on my iMac (apple devise) and there’s a built in DVR. I just watch 3 episodes of American pickers, and now I’m on the food channel. Man vs food. This is an amazing deal, and HBO for $15 more, it’s all the cable I could ever want for $35..MDN is way off on their take for this service

  3. Looks like Sling has a decent package if we ignore the lack of NBC properties Like USA and SyFy.

    My problem is that broadband isn’t free. But for folks who’ve cut the Cable, there is more than enough to watch.

  4. I just got an Apple TV, and I find it an extremely entertaining device with the content it already has. I already subscribed to Hulu Plus (through a Mac), and I can access the same content with the same account on the Apple TV. There are a lot more content choices there, on that “home” screen, than I expected.

    I had (still have) an older Mac connected to that same HDTV, and used it with iTunes and a web browser like an Apple TV (a “media center”), but the “real” Apple TV is much more convenient and fun to use. 🙂

    (I think I might need to “velcro” the Apple Remote to my cable box remote control, so that it doesn’t “get lost.”)

  5. Calling the Roku 3 inferior when the Apple TV is so crippledankd old… That is a stretch. Calling FlingvTv, a device agnostic live TV service inferior… An even bigger stretch.

  6. The Apple TV has suffered while Apple has pissed away valuable time, resources and talent on the iWatch/Apple Watch/ Jony’s Toi Folly, whatever.

    More people will spend more on a proper IPTV device (HW and content) than will buy that stupid watch.

  7. $15 a month just for HBO is nothing special and in my view to expensive.
    When there is a deal that lets the customer pick the channels at a reasonable price that is high definition and local channels are included at no extra cost then they will have something people want.

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