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In a move that is sure to cause ripples throughout the net, Apple has signed an exclusive contracting deal with HBO for launch rights to air their streaming video service – HBO Now. The agreement, which was announced on Monday, will be targeting HBO viewers who do not subscribe to Pay TV.

The service is expected to be launched early in April, meaning it will surely see an enormous amount of early support as Game of Thrones addicts flock from their traditional Pay TV suppliers to soak up the hit television show for a lower monthly cost than adding HBO to their traditional monthly packages.

The sales message Apple and HBO are pushing forward is clear: Why pay exorbitant monthly fees for shows and programming you don’t watch when you could pay a much lower monthly fee and get direct access to the one program you do watch?

Apple partners up with HBO GoThey make a valid point. HBO Now will cost only $14.99 per month, which is roughly equivalent to adding HBO to a standard TV programming contract anyways. This way, however, HBO viewers can have their shows brought directly to them without the additional cost of a monthly contract for programming they don’t have an interest in.

The move also makes sense for HBO, which will have to venture out beyond their traditional roads of piggybacking on large cable companies to expand and find growth. They will be using Apple as a sales and customer service branch while their product is brought to millions of potential customers. From Apple’s perspective, they stand to profit enormously from the deal, both in monetary compensation and by being directly affiliated with producing Game of Thrones (albeit in a roundabout way).

While this is a great sales and marketing move for the near future (the season 4 finale of Game of Thrones brought in more than 7 million viewers on its first night airing alone), it is a concerning long term tactic as the hit television show only airs for two and a half months per year. By associating their product so heavily with the Game of Thrones franchise, Apple and HBO may have inadvertently shot themselves in the foot. The good news is they have at least 2 more years to sort out a new marketing plan since Game of Thrones is scheduled to last for at least 2 more seasons.

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When he is not trolling the web, Robert Cairns works as the Director of Marketing at Caseo Digital Marketing Services, a Canadian company specializing in SEO, digital marketing and PPC campaigns. His goal is world domination, but in the meantime he contents himself with providing tips and information on the latest search engine trends hitting the net.

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