Written by Natalie Mootz | Last Updated February 24th, 2020Natalie has been writing for the web since dinosaurs roamed the earth. Or at least since dinosaurs achieved blogging technology. She's also written for About.com and Joystiq.
First comes love, then comes marriage. That's the way the old nursery rhyme goes, right? Well, if you're Apple TV and HBO, you do it the opposite way: first comes marriage, then comes the messy custody battle to keep customers.
Apple announced the "marriage" yesterday with the news that its devices will be the exclusive provider of HBO's new streaming, no-cable-required business model, called HBO Now, for the first three months of its availability.
The custody battle will come in July, after those three months expire, as Apple will no longer have an exclusive angle on HBO's 114 million-strong customer base.
You can already get streaming access to a lot of HBO's content. HBO Go is available to HBO's cable subscribers as a method of streaming, for example, current episodes of Game of Thrones on a variety of screens outside of your television. Additionally, many past episodes of HBO's original programming are available to Amazon customers via Amazon Instant Video -- free to Amazon Prime customers.
Up until now, without a cable HBO subscription you couldn't stream current HBO content. Next month, Apple's partnership with HBO Now will give anyone with an Apple device (Apple TV, iPad, or iPhone) on-demand access to anything that HBO airs -- past, present, and future. The HBO Now service launches April 12 for Apple viewers and in July for everyone else.
It's likely that HBO will benefit more from the deal than Apple will. Desire to buy HBO Now should only increase over the three months that non-Apple customers wait for the service. On the other hand, it's less likely that people will purchase a new Apple streaming device -- even though Apple TV's price has been lowered from $99 to $69 for the time being -- plus $14.99/month for HBO Now when they can just wait a couple of months and get the same content on any device they own.
The HBO/Apple nuptials will definitely have an impact on the subscriber television model -- but it's doubtful that it will be of "red wedding" proportions.