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Showtime launching streaming service: Here's how it compares to HBO Now

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Joe Alblas/SHOWTIME

Showtime will officially enter the streaming game. The premium network announced Wednesday that it will launch a stand-alone streaming service online, following in the footsteps of top rival HBO. 

Showtime’s new service—called simply “Showtime”—will launch in July, in time for the premiere of new seasons of Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex (which return July 12). 

The network is echoing HBO’s initial roll-out strategy of exclusively partnering with Apple and restricting access to the new service to users of iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TV. HBO’s decision to partner with Apple when its HBO Now service launched in April was met with some criticism from users, and the network has since broadened its partnerships to include Google Play. Showtime notes that additional platforms and providers will be announced soon. 

Showtime’s service will be cheaper than HBO Now, with a price tag of only $10.99 per month compared to HBO’s $14.99 per month. The service is expected to include past and current Showtime fare like Dexter, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, Episodes, Homeland, and other titles. 

Also like HBO, Showtime will offer a 30-day free trial to new customers who sign up for the service through its debut month. 

“Going over-the-top means Showtime will be much more accessible to tens of millions of potential new subscribers,” said CBS Corp. president and CEO Les Moonves. “Across CBS, we are constantly finding new ways to monetize our programming by capitalizing on opportunities presented by technology.  This works best when you have outstanding premium content—like we do at Showtime—and when you have a terrific partner like Apple—which continues to innovate and build upon its loyal customer base.”