Cablevision becomes 1st operator to offer HBO Now

In the first of what is likely to be many announcements around pay-TV operators carrying Cloud TV channel HBO Now, New York-based Cablevision said it reached an agreement to offer the standalone streaming service owned by Time Warner to its Optimum Online customers via the Internet.

Optimum becomes the first cable provider to partner with HBO to offer the new service, which is expected to launch in April in time for the fifth season of Game of Thrones.

Of course, Cablevision will have to wait for Apple’s 90-day exclusive deal with HBO Now before it can start to make any hay from the deal, but it will be in a great position to leverage its 100% high-speed Internet in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Kristin Dolan, Cablevision chief operating officer, said the deal fits the cableco well.

“We are enabling Optimum Online customers to enjoy content in any way they choose to receive it,” she said. “We are well-positioned to support HBO NOW and, as technology advances, Cablevision will continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers.

HBO, for its part, isn’t holding back on the tickertape.

“We couldn’t be more excited that our longtime partner has joined us for the launch of HBO NOW,” said Tom Woodbury, HBO’s president, global distribution. “We believe that HBO NOW will have great appeal to Cablevision’s broadband customers.”

Optimum may be the first cable company to announce an HBO Now deal, but it’s not likely to be the last.

And, here’s an interesting twist, it looks like Cablevision will set its own price for the HBO Now offering that HBO and Apple have rolled out for $14.99.

Terms of the agreement were not released, but it’s interesting to note that, according to Cablevision, it will “provide pricing and other particulars for HBO NOW in the coming weeks.”

Last week, HBO announced that HBO Now would be distributed via Apple iOS devices only for the first three months of operation, a move that helped position it as a premium service.

For the moment, HBO Now won’t be offering and live service, just on demand, although executives have said that the live piece will come as they get settled better into the technology they’re using for delivery, currently from MLB.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn