If AT & T’s WarnerMedia wins, HBO will no longer be available as an Amazon channel after the current brokerage contract expires next year, according to people familiar with the matter.
Thanks to HBO’s presence on the Amazon Channels Store, users today can regularly watch HBO programs through the Amazon Fire TV user interface, making it easy for consumers to subscribe and sign up. That placement, however, was a major sticking point in negotiations to bring HBO Max, the company’s separate streaming service, to the Amazon Fire TV platform, according to people who asked not to be named because the terms of the contract were private are.
Those talks lasted months before closing with a deal this week.
HBO Max includes additional content that is not available on HBO, such as South Park and The Big Bang Theory. In time, WarnerMedia would like the HBO Max application to be the only entry point into HBO services on streaming platforms.
While this distinction between user interfaces may feel esoteric to most consumers, it is very important to WarnerMedia. By binding subscribers to the HBO Max application, WarnerMedia can create a direct relationship with consumers and retrieve viewer information that can be used for targeted advertising. An ad-supported version of HBO Max is slated for release next year.
Consumers who purchased HBO through Amazon Channels can sign up for HBO Max for free using the HBO Max application. Legacy HBO will remain in the Channels Store until its agreement – which is separate from the HBO Max deal – expires next year.
Failure to add HBO and HBO Max to the Amazon Channels Store could affect subscriber growth.
After the deal with Amazon is closed, WarnerMedia will turn its attention to reaching an agreement with Roku, the largest streaming video platform by market sharesaid the people. Roku also has a channel business that HBO Max is fighting to avoid. WarnerMedia also has to reach an ad revenue-sharing agreement with Roku, much like NBCUniversal’s Peacock who signed a deal with Roku in September.
WarnerMedia and Amazon spokespersons declined to comment.