​HBO is going the way of Netflix with a stand-alone online streaming service in 2015

From The Sopranos, True Detective and The Wire to Girls, Sex and the City and Curb Your Enthusiasm, HBO has proven itself time and again as one of the top suppliers of quality television series.

© HBO

The cable-only brand has decided it will offer a stand-alone digital property in 2015, which will offer episodic online streaming to consumers, akin to Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu Plus.

HBO chief executive Richard Plepler made the announcement during an investment meeting on Wednesday (Oct. 15) held by the brand’s parent company, Time Warner.

“It’s time to remove the barriers to those that want HBO,” Plepler said.

This change is unanticipated, as Time Warner chief executive Jeff Bewkes previously remarked that Netflix was not a threat to the burgeoning cable mega-brand.

© Paramount Pictures

Last year, HBO’s revenues were $4.9 billion, which came from user subscriptions and fees paid by cable firms. As of now, there is no word on how much the new streaming site will cost, but there is still some incentive to keep cable: televised sports.

As of October 2014, both ESPN and TNT locked deals to retain rights to show NBA games through to the 2024-25season, while ESPN also contracted a deal to resume showing Monday Night Football until 2021. Rogers Communications Inc. has the Canadian rights to the NHL (including broadcast) for the next 12 years.

HELLO! Canada magazine is available for your tablet and smartphone. Get HELLO! Canada, PEOPLE, Vanity Fair and over 100 more of the world’s best magazines for one low monthly price at Texture by Next Issue. CLICK HERE to sign up for a free trial.