Middlemen Holding Onto Their Place: Cablevision Agrees to Offer HBO Now

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John Oliver, host of 'Last Week Tonight' on HBO.
John Oliver, host of 'Last Week Tonight' on HBO. Credit: Eric Liebowitz/HBO

HBO Now, HBO's stand-alone streaming service, will be available to Cablevision's Optimum Online subscribers, the companies said Monday, making Cablevision the first cable-and-internet provider to agree to offer it.

While HBO Now is being pegged as a direct-to-consumer product, you can't just sign up with HBO. In order to access HBO Now when it bows next month, users will either need to be a subscriber of Optimum Online or own an Apple TV.

HBO previously announced that Apple TV will be the only streaming device to offer the service for a period of three months, meaning rivals services like Roku and Google's Chromecast will be shut out.

The premium TV network is hesitant to completely strip out the middleman because that middleman -- the companies that offer internet service -- also offer the cable and satellite packages on which traditional HBO is distributed.

The service, which will cost $14.99 per month, will let subscribers watch the network's new and library content without a traditional cable or satellite subscription.

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