Apple CEO: HBO Now ‘Incredibly Popular’

Says It’s Among Top Downloads in Apple’s U.S. App Store
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Apple isn’t saying how many of its customers have signed up for HBO Now following the recent launch of the new stand-alone OTT service, but CEO Tim Cook is pleased with the early response. 

“HBO Now has been incredibly popular with Apple TV users since its debut, and it has been one of the top downloaded apps on the U.S. App Store as well,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said Monday on the company’s fiscal second quarter earnings call.

As of Tuesday morning, Apple’s App Store was home to 505 HBO Now ratings/reviews.

HBO Now, a OTT service that does not require a traditional pay TV subscription, went live on April 7 for $14.99 per month, becoming initially available directly through Apple and via Cablevision Systems’  broadband service. 

Cook later danced around questions about Apple’s broader video strategy, and if it focused on selling incremental devices or expanding the revenue pie.

“I think HBO, in particular, has some incredibly great content…so we’re marrying their great content, our great product and ecosystem,” Cook said. “It’s clear from looking at the early returns -- we’ve only been at this for a couple of weeks or so - that there’s a lot of traction in there.”

As for where it could go from there, “I don’t want to speculate,” he said. “I think we’re on the early stages of just major, major changes in media that are going to be really great for consumers, and I think Apple could be a part of that.”

Cook also discussed the Apple Watch, which is debuting with more than 3,500 apps, including several developed by programmers and pay TV providers, including ESPN, CNN, Comcast, ABC News, Nick Jr., CNBC, and BET, among others. By comparison, the original iPhone launched with about 500 apps, and the iPad kicked off with about a thousand, Cook said.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Cook said, but didn’t offer any sales data. But he said “demand is greater than supply, so we are working hard to remedy that.”

Apple Watch “is a new product for us, and with any kind of new product, you wind up taking some time to fully ramp,” he added.

On the financial front, Apple posted net income of $13.6 billion ($2.33 per share), on revenues of $58 billion, up 27%. Analysts were expecting $2.16 per share on revenues of $56 billion, according to Bloomberg.

Revenues were buoyed by strong demand for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, with overall iPhone unit sales rising 40%, to 61.2 million.

Apple sold 12.6 million iPads, down from 16.4 million in the year-ago quarter.

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