HBO, opening a new international front in its battle with Netflix, plans to roll out HBO Go as a standalone online subscription service in Latin America, Brazil and the Caribbean, starting with a launch in Colombia by the end of the year.
HBO Latin America, comprised of affiliates of Time Warner and Ole Communications Group, said pricing of HBO Go will be announced jointly with distribution partners in each market. The company said it will continue to offer HBO Go to pay-TV subscribers for no additional charge in the region, as it does in the U.S.; it didn’t specify how many countries it plans to launch the standalone service in.
“We have seen changes in content-consumption habits and are launching this new HBO Go platform as an a la carte service in response to those trends,” HBO Latin America CEO Emilio Rubio said in announcing the plans. “We are creating options and adding more flexibility to our model and for our distributors, giving consumers the choice to enjoy the premium content of HBO/MAX in the manner they want.”
The move is clearly aimed at helping HBO better compete against Netflix, which already offers SVOD service 43 Latin American countries, Brazil and Mexico.
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In the Latin America region, HBO Go includes more than 2,500 titles including all episodes of all seasons of original series in the U.S. plus all of the series from more than 10 years of HBO Latin America original productions. The standalone service’s features will include the ability to set Spanish, English or Portuguese as the default language; in-language program audio tracks and subtitles; a live HBO linear channel; and a redesigned user interface.
In the U.S., HBO earlier this year launched HBO Now with partners including Apple and Cablevision, followed by Google. The service also is available to order directly from HBO.
On Thursday, the premium cabler announced that HBO Now is available for Roku customers in the U.S. Roku users can purchase a subscription directly from the HBO Now channel for $14.99 per month.
In 2012, HBO Nordic launched a streaming-only service in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, where its linear TV service is not distributed.