One side in the mobile video arms race just acquired a major new weapon. HBO and Verizon announced Tuesday that Verizon customers now have access to a 30-day free trial of HBO Now, the recently launched service that allows consumers to access HBO content without a cable subscription. The companies also announced that select HBO content will be included in Verizon’s forthcoming mobile video product, which is reportedly called Go90.
“This agreement with Verizon represents the commitment our companies share to respond to changing consumer behavior,” Jeff Dallesandro, HBO’s senior vice president of worldwide digital distribution, said in a statement.
After the 30-day trial runs out, Verizon customers -- like everybody else -- will have to shell out $14.99 per month if they want continued access to “Game of Thrones,” “Girls” and all the other content HBO offers. There was no word on which shows or movies would be available on Verizon’s mobile video service, or further details on when it is scheduled to launch, though some speculate it could bow before the end of the summer.
Today’s move adds HBO to a stable of content partners that Verizon has amassed recently, including ESPN, Vice and some of the editorial brands owned by AOL, which Verizon acquired this past spring after a great deal of speculation.
It also gives HBO the chance to significantly ramp up the number of people signed up for its cord-cutting product. Though HBO is not hurting for subscribers, HBO Now is a new product, and Verizon is one of the largest providers of wireless, high-speed Internet in the United States. The company has more than 100 million wireless susbcribers and more than 9 million broadband subscribers, according to its most recent quarterly earnings report, and if even a handful of them sign up for HBO Now, it could do a lot to pad the service’s subscriber totals. BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield estimated at the end of last month that HBO Now already has 1 million subscribers.
Verizon customers can begin their free trial by visiting http://www.verizon.com/hbonow.