A change in viewing habits and the higher penetration of smartphones and the Internet are forcing some of the media and pay-TV companies to think beyond their traditional offerings and come out with advanced products and services to cater to the rising demand for alternative video platforms and over-the-top services. Video platforms such as Netflix have already seen a rapid subscriber growth over the past few years. Netflix has over 37 million subscribers compared to 22 million for Comcast and 20 million for DirectTV. In this changing environment, the challenge for the media industry at large is to make the content accessible in and out of the home. Going over-the-top as a standalone service is a bold decision to make, as it could trim the existing subscriber base on the traditional television. However, some of the networks, including CBS and Time Warner‘s HBO, have decided to go over-the-top and offer a streaming service without a pay-TV connection. While its too early to comment on how successful these services will be, it is the beginning of a new trend and a step in the right direction. On that note, we discuss below HBO’s growth and its soon-to-be launched standalone streaming service.
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