With the accelerating release cycle of OTT Subscription services from the likes of HBO Now, Dish and CBS All Access, it’s not surprising that CBS-owned Showtime Networks announced their subscription service launching in early July. Now Showtime is refining its deployment strategy by announcing more hardware partners.
Showtime is expanding their ecosystem beyond Apple TV, with Roku and Sony PlayStation Vue customers now slated to have access to the subscription service. Although PlayStation Vue is currently available only in New York City, Chicago and Philadephia, the total install base – plus Roku’s 7 million customers – adds upwards of 30 million homes to Showtime’s potential audience.
Showtime Networks CEO Matt Blank remarked, “Both platforms have distinct and loyal audiences and together they will build on our service and greatly expand the number of homes that will have access to the Showtime service over the Internet. This is fundamental to Showtime’s strategy of putting the choice in the hands of the consumers regarding how, when and on what unique devices they watch our programming.”
The streaming service will launch in time for the July 12 season premieres of Ray Donovan andMasters Of Sex. Subscribers will be able to watch live shows and unlimited on-demand access to every Showtime original series, along with movies, documentary and sports programming. The Showtime subscription price is only $10.99 a month , positioning the service at a lower price point than HBO Now.
Showtime is rapidly embracing the devices and platforms its potential subscribers use the most, even before launch. Perhaps borrowing a page from HBO’s playbook, Showtime initially said the new service would launch on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV, but is clearly hedging its bets as quickly as it can, doubtless based on arriving at full confidence that a given platform can deliver an experience that will draw new subscribers in.
Interestingly, Showtime has a smaller footprint in the cable market: HBO boasts 8 million more Pay TV customers, which suggests there may be greater growth potential for Showtime for a streaming-only base. Of course, that assumes that adding streaming-only viewers is purely additive, and does not detract from Pay TV subscriber rolls.
All of this isn’t surprising, of course, but the chess game of who partners with whom is as fun to watch as the season finale of Game of Thrones (spoiler alert ahead). As quickly as the Night’s Watch abandoned Jon Snow, more consumers are ditching cable and choosing their favorite subscription services to watch instead. According to The New York Times, there are 10 million homes in the U.S. with Internet but no cable or satellite TV subscriptions, a number which all the indications suggest will continue to rise. Therefore, it’s smart business for media brands to get their SVOD service up and running smoothly very early in this universal shift away from cable before the cordless and cord-never White Walkers come knocking.