How Jimmy Iovine got HBO Now on Apple TV and iOS

By

HBO Now on the big screen. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Jimmy Iovine played a key role bring HBO Now to Apple. Photo: HBO

HBO finally unleashed its Netflix-killer today with the HBO Now app for iOS and Apple TV. The company is already having a hard time keeping up with demand on the streaming service, but according to a profile on HBO CEO Richard Plepler CEO, the original plan was to launch it at the end of 2016.

Today’s launch may not have happened it if weren’t for Apple executive Jimmy Iovine, who sparked the connection between HBO and Apple. After Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch made a hostile bid to takeover of Time Warner last year, Plepler says he knew he need to pivot the company. So he called up his old buddy Jimmy and asked if Apple would be interested in an HBO Now deal.

“I think that’s the shit,” Jimmy said.

Iovine was seen by many as one of the key reasons why Apple splurged $3 billion on Beats Electronics. His connections have already proven invaluable for the company by helping ink deals with musicians for exclusives with the new streaming service.

Once he got Iovine’s positive response, FastCo says Plepler talked to Time Warner board member Paul Wachter, who connected him with Eddy Cue. The two media bosses met at Plepler’s New York office, where the HBO CEO explained he needed a needed a distributor for a Spring 2015 launch. Cue said he wanted to do the deal with HBO “the next day.”

As part of the deal with HBO, Apple gets a three-month exclusively period. It also includes a free 30-day trial for users who sign up in April. The arrangement has been mutual beneficial for both sides. Apple gets a premium streaming service to bolster the appeal of Apple TV, which has been hurt by streamers like Roku, Amazon FireTV, and Chromecast. HBO gets the Apple spotlight for the launch of HBO Now, something the company hopes will help accelerate its momentum against Netflix.

Source: Fast Company