HBO paved the way for a-la-carte television this past spring when it offered the first standalone streaming service for a premium channel. HBO Now launched exclusively on Apple TV and iOS devices on April 7 of this year. Showtime followed suit yesterday, when the CBS-owned premium channel launched their own over-the-top streaming channel for $10.99 per month.
The Showtime service is now available on and iOS devices (as well as a handful of other streaming services and devices), and allows users to access every season of Showtime’s lineup of original series, as well as hundreds of movies and documentaries, and a live feed of Showtime’s east and west coast feeds. The launch comes just in time for the season premieres of two of Showtime’s more popular shows, Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex on July 12.
Showtime Anytime, a similar on-demand service, launched on the Apple TV last year. However, Showtime Anytime required a cable login to access any of the content. The new Showtime service, like HBO Now, requires no cable or satellite service. Showtime is offering their service for a bit cheaper, however – $11 per month as opposed to HBO Now’s $15 per month. Interested users can take advantage of a free one-month trial period to give the service a test run. Regardless, bundling up the two a-la-carte services, as well as a Netflix and Hulu subscription are much cheaper than the estimated $123 per month the average subscription TV customer pays in America.
Apple was expected to announce their own internet-based streaming cable alternative at the WWDC this past June, along with a new Apple TV set-top box. However, Apple allegedly was unable to finalize licensing deals with content providers in time for the conference. The service, which is expected to cost $30-$40 per month, will offer viewers access to many of the most popular channels without the bloated lineup (and bloated cost) of many cable and satellite providers. No official announcement is planned for Apple’s service, but many think that more information will spring up sometime this coming fall. Until then, Apple TV and iOS users will have to settle for HBO and Showtime, which, if you ask us, isn’t too bad.