HBO signs on Jon Stewart for short streaming videos

In a four-year deal, the premium TV network is breaking out of its 30- to 60-minute production mold.

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HBO and Jon Stewart are teaming up, but not for just another TV show.

Instead, the former star of The Daily Show will produce “timely short-form digital content, which will be refreshed on HBO NOW multiple times throughout the day,” HBO says. Details are still scarce, but Stewart is apparently working with cloud-rendering company OTOY on new technology to help produce the videos.

The four-year deal also gives HBO first crack at any TV or film projects that Stewart might pursue; but again, HBO hasn’t announced any specifics on that front. The focus for now is on the shorter material. “Appearing on television 22 minutes a night clearly broke me,” Stewart said in HBO’s press release. “I’m pretty sure I can produce a few minutes of content every now and again.”

There’s no word on exactly when the videos will arrive. In addition to launching on HBO Now, the network’s $15-per-month standalone streaming service, they’ll also appear on HBO Go, the free service for people who get HBO through their cable provider.

Why this matters: Until now, HBO’s streaming services have mainly offered long-form TV shows, movies, and specials. With Stewart’s shorter creations, it seems HBO is trying to turn its service into something people will visit more frequently during the day, instead of just for their evening entertainment. This could be the start of a broader response to YouTube and its new ad-free subscription service, along with newer short-form video efforts such as Vessel, Verizon’s Go90, and Comcast’s Watchable .

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