HBO standalone service coming to Apple devices in April, in time for Game of Thrones

NEW YORK (REUTERS) - The anticipated standalone streaming service from premium channel HBO will launch in April exclusively on Apple Inc devices, in time for the season premiere of acclaimed series Game of Thrones, the network said on Monday.

HBO Now will cost US$14.99 (S$20.70) per month and will include all past, present and future HBO programming plus the network's lineup of Hollywood movies, HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Plepler said at an Apple event in San Francisco.

The service will be available starting in early April through a new channel on Apple TV and on iPhones and iPads.Game of Thrones premieres on April 12.

HBO, a unit of Time Warner Inc, has been available only to customers with a pay television subscription. With HBO Now, the company is aiming to reach people who have broadband access but don't want to pay for a traditional TV package of dozens of other channels.

"This is a transformative moment for HBO," Plepler said after an introduction from Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.

Time Warner shares rose 0.8 percent to US$84.74 on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares of Netflix, a competitor to HBO, fell 2.2 per cent to US$443.92 on Nasdaq.

Shares of Apple were up 2 per cent at US$129.29 on Nasdaq.