Pay TV network Showtime announced it is now joining HBO by giving its viewers the ability to stream their content through the Internet. Hit shows on Showtime such as Weeds, Dexter, and Homeland that were once only available on TV with a cable subscription can now be found online. As of Wednesday, viewers can purchase Showtime through AppleTV and Roku at a price of $10.99 per month. This comes with a 30-day free trial.
Although Showtime offered some of their trailers and season premiers via online streaming, this is a first for the company as they bring their shows to an online platform. It is media giants such as Showtime and HBO, which make it difficult for cable companies such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast to stay in business.
The market has changed drastically with the creation of services such as Vudu, Netflix and Hulu that allow users to stream their favorite shows online. Before this age in entertainment, there was no monetary incentive for networks to abandon their cable partners and make themselves available elsewhere. Now, as Internet speeds increase along with the popularity of streaming devices and services, we are seeing more and more networks break their ties with cable companies and begin offering themselves online.
Starting the trend, HBO signed a deal with Apple making themselves exclusively available via AppleTV. While still offering their main shows on exclusive platforms, HBO and Showtime have both been offering their older shows on other streaming platforms. The new streaming market is only projected to grow within the next few years as popularity continues to grow exponentially.
Currently, AppleTV and Roku are the streaming platforms that are dominating the market. AppleTV holds the market with around 40% of the sales with Roku close behind at 30%. Last month, it was anticipated that AppleTV and Roku would release the 4th generation Apple TV and the Roku 4. Both companies failed to come out with their new devices however. Some suspect the companies are holding each other at a standstill as they both wait for the other to make a move.
All along, Amazon, who has 15% of the market thanks to its Prime video service, has been working to distinguish itself from its competitors. Amazon hopes this will help them propel sales for the future and make them a bigger competitor. Last month, they released GameFly streaming which is an app that allows users to rent several games at a time in a “bundle”.
With media giants such as Showtime and HBO cutting their ties with large cable companies and moving their content to online streaming, it is an exciting future and one that will yield unpredictable results in the market as the industry grows rapidly and consumers are pressed for subscription fees that are larger than they have been paying on cable.