The desire by consumers to get rid of expensive cable TV subscriptions is obvious, especially with online services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and iTunes. Even DVRs are growing less essential as practically every show that is available on free to air and basic cable can now be watched on demand within hours of their original broadcast and, for a small fee, often without commercials.
The one area that these services have yet to really penetrate though is that of premium cable and, more specifically, the three big players in the field – HBO, Showtime and Starz. All three have online streaming options available for their cable package subscribers, but for years all three have also steadfastedly refused to offer standalone online versions of their services – you could only get them with a cable subscription.
That all changed the other month when HBO announced that it would launch a standalone streaming service in 2015. In the wake of that news, it was expected the others would shortly follow suit – and one of them has.
During a CBS third quarter financial results meeting, CEO Leslie Moonves talked about the CBS-owned Showtime network and announced plans to introduce a standalone streaming service for Showtime programs sometime in 2015. Specific launch dates, pricing and further details won’t be available until next year.
The big question is if Showtime has enough value to be worth the $10-15 per month the company could charge for its product, even though the likes of Netflix, Hulu and HBO will offer more value for their monthly fees.
“Homeland” isn’t the powerhouse it once was, and the likes of “Penny Dreadful,” “Ray Donovan,” “Masters of Sex,” and “Episodes” have solid fanbases – yet none of their shows are approaching anything close to the audience levels or word of mouth of the likes of “Game of Thrones” or “True Detective”.