July 30, 2020
HBO Now, the subscription streaming video service launched in 2015, is slowly being absorbed into the HBO brand — and ultimately HBO Max.
WarnerMedia July 30 disclosed it has reached a deal with Amazon for continued support of HBO Now for Amazon Prime members. The new deal, which replaces a current agreement set to expire July 31, will enable subscribers continued access through a standalone app and via Amazon Channels, beginning Aug. 1. The extension mirrors an agreement between WarnerMedia and Roku for HBO Now access on the streaming media device’s platform.
Distribution of HBO Max on Amazon Fire TV and Roku, however, remains unresolved. On AT&T’s fiscal call, CEO John Stankey said about 3 million Max subscribers accessed the platform through WarnerMedia, leaving more than 33 million HBO subs in the U.S. who have yet to activate the free Max app.
Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos July 29 was asked before the House Anti-Trust Subcommittee whether the ecommerce behemoth uses its “gatekeeper” status to extract content and other giveaways from WarnerMedia in exchange for allowing Max on Fire TV.
Bezos said he did not know the details of the negotiations but said he thought a deal would eventually be produced. He said there could be scenarios, “if we’re just talking in the abstract,” where it could be inappropriate for Amazon to withhold access and other scenarios where it would be “very normal business and very appropriate” to deny access.
“I think this is kind of [negotiating between] two large companies … is kind of normal,” Bezos said.