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Showtime Announces Streaming Service

Showtime officially announced it will offer a streaming service directly to consumers with broadband in early in July that will cost $10.99.

Like HBO’s OTT service, it will be first available via Apple.

The launch coincides with the beginning of new seasons of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex on July 12.

“Going over-the-top means Showtime will be much more accessible to tens of millions of potential new subscribers,” said Les Moonves, CEO of CBS Corp., parent of Showtime. “Across CBS, we are constantly finding new ways to monetize our programming by capitalizing on opportunities presented by technology. This works best when you have outstanding premium content – like we do at Showtime – and when you have a terrific partner like Apple – which continues to innovate and build upon its loyal customer base.”

The OTT product is being referred to as Showtime. CBS and Moonves have been saying that the product is on its way since speculation about HBO’s standalone product was confirmed by Time Warner executives last year. HBO Now costs $14.99, though the company is offering a free trial to new subscribers. HBO has not announced any figures for how many people have subscribed to HBO Now.

Going over-the-top allows networks to tap into a growing segment of consumers who have broadband access but do not subscribe to traditional cable packages. Up till now, it was difficult for non-cable subscribers to watch popular HBO and Showtime shows. The networks are also trying to avoid cannibalizing consumers who already subscribe via cable and damaging relationships with current pay TV distributors.

“We’re excited to offer consumers the opportunity to subscribe in new ways, by simply having an internet connection,” said Matt Blank, CEO of Showtime Networks. “Our intent is to make Showtime available to viewers via every manner possible, giving them an enormous amount of choice in accessing our programming, starting with the season premieres of our award-winning series Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex.”

After the initial launch on Apple for iPads, iPhones, and Apple TV users, Showtime says addition additional platforms and providers will be announced soon.

“We’re excited to offer Apple customers Showtime’s live channels and extensive on demand library of great TV shows and movies, without a cable or satellite subscription,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior VP of Internet Software and Services. “iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV customers will now be able to subscribe to Showtime directly and instantly start viewing their favorite programming with the same simplicity as buying an app.”

The service features the live East Coast and West Coast feeds of Showtime, plus unlimited on-demand access to every season of Showtime original series and hundreds of hours of movies, documentaries and sports programming.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.