After an absence of more than a year, HBO Max is once more accessible on Amazon’s Prime Video Channels in the United States. Amazon Inc. (AMZN.O) and Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD.O) revealed on Tuesday that Prime subscribers can now sign up for HBO Max.
Amazon and HBO Max’s former owner, AT&T Inc (T.N), which objected to having a third party stand between its Warner Bros studio and the streaming service’s subscribers, have reached an agreement that resolves their impasse.
A crucial objective of WarnerMedia’s former corporate structure, which launched HBO Max in 2020, two years before merging with Discovery, is undone by the agreement. Jason Kilar, a former CEO of WarnerMedia who spent a significant amount of time in the executive ranks at Amazon early in his career, made it a top priority to ensure that HBO Max would be available on Amazon Fire TV devices as a standalone app rather than as a component of Channels.
At the time, AT&T, the parent company of WarnerMedia, supported Kilar’s plan, with CEO John Stankey openly criticising Amazon for what he called “strong-arm tactics.” HBO Max’s launch on Amazon was ultimately delayed by the confusion for several months, depriving the startup streaming service access to important new subscribers as it entered the market. Due to WarnerMedia’s stance, Roku, another significant streaming gateway, also experienced a lengthy delay in getting HBO Max after its debut.
Although the new agreement’s lifespan was not made clear in the official announcement, insiders acquainted with the terms estimated that it would last five years.
Since its 2021 launch, Discovery+, which will merge with HBO Max in the spring of 2023, has been available on Prime Video Channels. With more than 200 million subscribers worldwide, the Prime programme is a significant contributor to overall streaming viewing, and owing to content like The Lord of the Rings and NFL Thursday Night Football, Amazon is luring more and more people to its Prime Video platform.
Prime subscribers may subscribe to HBO Max through Channels for $14.99 a month. Similar to Apple and Google, Amazon’s enormous scale allows it to sign up more subscriptions for its partners, but the way subscription fees and user data are shared can cause issues between the parties. Earlier in the streaming era, programmers were prepared to give up a certain amount of revenue and data in the name of scaling, reasoning that the tradeoff was worthwhile.
The new agreement was largely negotiated by JB Perrette, CEO and President, Global Streaming and Games for Warner Bros. Discovery, and Bruce Campbell, Chief Revenue and Strategy Officer. Campbell stated that WBD “is committed to bringing HBO Max to as wide an audience as possible while also advancing our data-driven approach to understanding our customers and best serving their viewing interests.” “To delight customers with great content and continue to collaborate and innovate so we can best serve our subscribers,” Perrette said of WBD’s mission.