Showtime offers iPad app for streaming premium content

Krystal Peak · January 10, 2012 · Short URL:

Fans of Californication and Shameless can watch Showtime on iPads, much like HBO users with HBOGO

Finding ways to translate the premium content from cable channels to Internet and mobile devices gave a much-appreciated boost to HBO when it added HBOGO last year. Now Showtime wants in on the action.

Showtime announced Tuesay an iPad app called Showtime Anytime that allows Showtime subscribers to watch the original Showtime content on their mobile tablet, anywhere. The free app is now available in the iTunes App Store.

Just like HBOGO, the streaming content is only available to Showtime subscribers -- which includes AT&T U-Verse and Verizon FiOS. Comcast customers will be able to access Showtime’s content through the Xfinity TV service, but the Showtime Anytime app for those subscribers is not up and running just yet.

This mobile streaming announcement comes just hours after the spring season lineup of major hit series on Showtime premiered on Sunday night. Season five of Californication, season two of Shameless and the new, expected breakthrough series, premier of House of Lies all aired their season openers on Sunday.

The app provides mobile access to these hits as well as other Showtime content, including Dexter, Weeds, Homeland, Nurse Jackie, The Big C, Episodes, The Borglas and The Real L Word.

The network’s movies and sports content will also start rolling out streaming ability on the app, including The King’s Speech, Blue Valentine, The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Bastards, Championship Boxing, Inside NASCAR and Strikeforce Mixed Martial Arts.

One great feature of the new app is "play shifting," where you can watch part of a program on your cable box and pick up where you left off on your iPad.

Showtime anticipates the release of the the iPhone and Android platforms in coming months.

Showtime Anytime will soon feature more than 400 hours of Showtime original programming and is a free service for people already subscribed to Showtime.

"The addition of Showtime Anytime to our FiOS offering further enhances our customers' experience, offering a convenient way for subscribers to access Showtime's programming in more ways and more places," said Terry Denson, vice president of content strategy and acquisition for Verizon, in a statement.

A report out this week showed that the trend of consuming more video online is not slowing

Nearly 145 million people watch video online in the U.S., compared to about 290 million who watch traditional TV -- and time shifted or on-demand options of television has risen 11% since Q2 of 2010. Nielsen estimates Americans spend an nearly 33 hours per week watching traditional TV.

They only spend an average of 3 hours and 58 minutes a week on the Internet, and only four hours week watching video online. It looks like, Internet TV consumption airs on the shorter side compared to movie and series watching online.  But if more premium content is available online, this could shift the ratio.

Thirty million people reported that they watch TV or videos on their mobile phone -- which could be a major factor in the increase of monthly data usage seen in all demographics looked at, since last year.

At this point both Showtime and HBO offer some streaming service for mobile and other Internet devices for those that subscribe their premium services but no cable service has offered solutions for those that wish to cut the cable. I am one of those people that has chosen not to pay more than $100 to get cable installed in my house so that I can subsidize hundreds of channels that I never watch.

It will be interesting to see if this is a stepping stone to allow people to circumvent the cable providers completely and go all Web-based, while still paying for content. 

I am sure that cable providers have built in some contract deals that would prevent this from being an immediate option, but it seems like a ticking time clock at this point.


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