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HBO Customers Will Soon Be Able to Watch on iOS & Android Devices

Starting next month, HBO subscribers will be able to access streaming content via iOS and Android devices.

The premium cable network started running teaser advertisements for its HBO GO iOS and Android apps earlier this month. The latest spot touts “instant and unlimited access” to “every episode of every season of your favorite HBO shows.”

HBO launched the browser-based component of its HBO GO streaming service in February 2010. Select cable customers can access online HBO content by visiting Comcast Xfinity customers can also access HBO content via the Xfinity TV website and On-Demand iOS apps.

Rumors of an iOS-compatible app date back to August 2010. In the past eight months, not only has the iPad become a bona fide hit with consumers, it is quickly being embraced by broadcast and cable networks to sell a “second-screen” experience.

Cable companies including Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner all have iPad apps available to offer users access to on-demand or live access to select networks and programming.

HBO GO is part of HBO’s overall digital strategy, which aims to keep its product exclusive, while still offering flexibility for subscribers. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has refused to license HBO premium content to Netflix, in part because he sees the service as potentially devaluing content.

In January, HBO’s VP of corporate affairs, Jeff Cusson, told The Hollywood Reporter that “HBO believes in content exclusivity, especially for high-value content. That’s our rationale for not selling streaming rights to a competing subscription service.”

As a lifelong HBO subscriber, I can understand the network’s position. HBO is one of the few networks that, for me, makes subscribing to cable worthwhile.

While we don’t anticipate HBO licensing its content to Netflix (without some serious negotiations), we see an HBO GO iOS and Android app as one of the final steps before the network makes its content available to subscribers sans a cable subscription.

HBO GO for iOS and Android is expected to become available May 2.

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