Showtime to offer streaming service
NEW YORK — Premium cable network Showtime will be available as a stand-alone Internet streaming service starting in early July.
The exact date was not revealed in the Wednesday announcement of the service, but Showtime said it would coincide with the July 12 season premieres of its returning series “Ray Donovan” and “Masters of Sex.”
The service, which will be called Showtime, will make its debut on Apple devices and will cost $10.99 a month — $4 less than leading competitor HBO’s streaming service called HBO Now. Showtime will be available at launch on Apple devices, but the company will not have an exclusivity period, according to Showtime Chief Executive Matt Blank.
The “over-the-top” version of Showtime, which throughout its 39-year history has been available only through cable systems and satellite TV providers, has been in the works for months. HBO launched its streaming service, HBO Now, in April.
Showtime is being offered at a lower price than HBO Now, most likely because the channel’s wholesale price to cable and satellite operators is less than what HBO charges.
Blank said discussions with cable and satellite operators regarding the overthe-top service has gone on for some time, leaving them fully briefed on the company’s plans. Although the service gives consumers the opportunity to have Showtime’s programming without a cable subscription, it will make broadband Internet service — which many cable operators also provide — more enticing.
Showtime has subscribers in 24 million homes. Blank declined to forecast how many subscribers would buy the streaming service, but noted that “there is a lot of opportunity here.”