In April, HBO officially launched their stand-alone streaming service HBO Now, which allows audiences to watch HBO programming without the commitment of an HBO cable subscription. With the first month of streaming as a free trial, the television giant intends to draw in customers with a subsequent monthly cost of $14.99. For the first three months of the service, HBO has committed to offering HBO Now exclusively on iOS devices.
With their official launch behind them, here are four marketing victories of HBO Now:
1. Timing is everything
What better way to launch HBO Now than to align it with the series premier of one of HBO’s most highly anticipated programs, Game of Thrones? In fact, the season premier was a key touch point of HBO Now promotion prior to its launch, a reminder that strategic planning is a modern marketer’s best friend. The premier of GOT’s fifth season garnered eight million viewers on the day of its release, testing the technological capacity and audience awareness of HBO Now. With critics wondering if the new service would slow or crash with the sheer number of views, HBO kept their marketing promises as a giant in the live streaming world. From a business perspective, the launch could not have been more perfectly timed.
2. Television made to order
Like any smart brand, HBO is putting control into the hands of customers. By allowing them to choose the independent HBO Now, customers have the capability of streaming programming without the commitment of an increased cable bill. HBO is acknowledging that their customers are tired of the “all or nothing” service plan. With personalization continuing to be an essential component of any successful business plan, HBO Now gives audiences the capability to personalize the foundation of their own viewing experience — a big win.
3. You can get with this, or you can get with that
Okay, some cable subscribers may notice that the additional monthly cost of adding HBO to their cable bill doesn’t differ significantly from the monthly cost of HBO Now. But this is the business prowess of the brand. Regular cable customers may not choose to switch exclusively to HBO Now; however, both new and existing customers are given an even greater capacity to choose the service that best fits their needs. With an increase in options, HBO heightens their presence and awareness level among new and old audiences, building their brand identity along the way. Marketing an option beyond the traditional bundled offer, current and new customers have streaming only a click away.
4. Bring on the competition
Here’s the elephant in the room — how can HBO compete with Netflix, the reigning parent of binge watching? Now, we’re not saying that the competition between these streaming giants will be comparative to any scene you could conjure up in GOT, but HBO is by no means backing down from the increasing competition for audience attention and subscriptions. While promoting HBO Now, the company differentiated themselves among other streaming services, breaking their own business model of cable customers. This new commitment undoubtedly shows that they have been listening to their customers needs and reacting to industry changes. HBO added more subscribers in 2014 than in any previous years of service. One can only imagine what their audiences will look like by the end of 2015 with the added HBO Now service.