Over the last several years, HBO has been making its streaming video product more attractive to users by adding more and more devices that users can stream its programming on. At the D: Dive Into Media conference today, HBO President and COO Eric Kessler said that the company is enabling AirPlay streaming for its HBO apps, enabling iOS users to stream video from the iPhone and iPad to the Apple TV.
The addition of AirPlay comes a few weeks after a report surfaced that HBO would be rolling out a standalone app for the Apple TV. Not quite, but close.
Getting on Apple TV itself would mean building an app and getting its distributors on board with authenticating on that device. That’s been a sticking point on certain platforms — like Roku — where it has an app, but not every cable or satellite provider has agreed to provide a login system on the device. But with the launch of AirPlay streaming, the company will be able to serve customers who have multiple products in the Apple ecosystem. It is, in a sense, taking advantage of a workaround.
While fans of HBO shows will be thrilled with this news, there will still be others who don’t — or won’t — subscribe to the service, due to the cost of paying for a cable bundle. But Kessler said the company has no plans to introduce a standalone service online without going through cable or satellite partners. That’s mostly due to the marketing and distribution help that it gets from those distributors. At the same time, it’s looking at ways to engage younger viewers who might not already be cable subscribers.