Showtime is following HBO's lead into standalone video streaming, but with a cheaper monthly price.
The new streaming service, simply called Showtime, will launch on July 12, coinciding with season premieres of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex. It'll cost $11 per month, with full access to Showtime's catalog of TV shows, movies, documentaries, specials, and sports programming. It also includes access to Showtime's live TV feed on either the east coast or the west coast.
Similar to HBO Now, Showtime will be an Apple exclusive at launch, with apps for iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Subscribers will also be able watch videos through Showtime's website on laptops and desktops, though as with HBO Now, it sounds like you'll need an Apple device to sign up. Through July, new subscribers will get a 30-day free trial.
It's unclear when Apple's exclusivity period will end, through Variety reports that other partners will come online shortly after launch. By comparison, HBO's deal with Apple lasts from April to July, though it allows TV service providers such as Cablevision to sell the service in the meantime.
Why this matters: Although Showtime already offers a streaming service, called Showtime Anytime, the only way to get it is with a login from a traditional pay TV provider. The new standalone service opens up Showtime's catalog to people who've cut the cable TV cord. These options are only going to grow over time, as networks like CBS (which owns Showtime) realize they can't ignore this rapidly-growing audience forever.