For years people like Jake Caputo (operator of takemymoneyhbo.com have asked HBO provide a service that they could subscribe to without having a traditional cable or satellite television subscription.
Last week, HBO finally made their dreams come true, and launched a standalone streaming service known as HBO NOW. The service is distinct from HBO's other streaming platform HBO GO in the sense that you can purchase an HBO NOW subscription without the aforementioned television package.
Even though the service went live in the middle of last week, Sandvine was able to provide our customers with a software update on Friday that allowed them to not only measure the service, but more importantly be able to do so in time for the launch for the new season of HBO's most popular show Game of Thrones.
So what impact did Game of Thrones and HBO NOW have? Below is a snapshot of traffic mix from one fixed network located in the eastern United States taken at 9:30PM.
NOTE: This is one network, on one day, and Internet traffic does fluctuate, so it is important to not take these figures to be representative of North America. Our next Global Internet Phenomena Report comes out in May, and that report will serve as a more definitive examination of network traffic.
That being said, these figures don't show a huge change in some of the numbers we reported in our 2H 2014 report. Netflix and YouTube still combine for almost half of all network traffic, while Amazon continues to hover around 2%.
HBO GO at 3.4% is much higher than our last report, but that is due to the fact we average an entire month of usage in those figures. HBO GO has historically had much higher usage on Sunday nights (and to some extent Mondays) than other days of the week due to the fact that many of HBO's programs (Game of Thrones, True Detective, etc.) release new episodes on Sunday nights.
So what can be made of HBO NOW accounting for 0.7% of traffic? In my opinion...nothing, at this point.
HBO NOW's lack of impact (in my opinion) can be explained for a few reasons:
- Recent launch - HBO Now launched less than a week ago, not giving tons of time for people to subscribe
- Limited access - Subscribers can only purchase via an Apple product, Sling, or Cablevision account
- HBO GO - As John Oliver points out in his HBO NOW sales pitch, why would a subscriber borrowing HBO GO credentials for free, pay for this new service?
Even with its minimal impact today. HBO NOW will be interesting to track in the coming months to see how much (and how fast it grows). Is it going to be the next Netflix in terms of traffic generation? Maybe. Maybe Not.
What HBO NOW does do however is crack the door open further for more OTT video options for subscribers and that is something that could have a significant impact on network operators. Stay tuned.