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AT&T Close to Roku Deal for HBO Max

Kevin Reilly, Chief Content Officer, HBO Max and President, TNT, TBS, & truTV during WarnerMedia Day
(Image credit: Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

AT&T is close to a deal to integrate its HBO Max app on Roku by the time the new streaming service launches in seven days, Variety reports.

But an agreement to include HBO Max into Amazon Fire TV is still classified as unlikely.

Also on Wednesday, AT&T has reached distribution agreements for HBO Max with several large cable and broadband companies. The new deals are with Cox Communications, Altice USA, Verizon and the National Cable Television Cooperative. These agreements add to an earlier announced pact with Charter Communications. 

And AT&T has reached connected TV distribution deals for inclusion of HBO Max on Microsoft’s Xbox One, Samsung Smart TVs and Sony Interactive’s PlayStation 4. 

The new integrations--and the large pending one with Roku--mean HBO Max has locked up distribution with most significant platforms, save for Amazon Fire TV and Comcast's pay TV services. 

All Eyes on Roku and Amazon

AT&T’s impasses with both Roku and Amazon are said to revolve around how HBO is integrated into “channels” aggregation components of both video ecosystems.

Also read: AT&T TV App Returns to Roku Channel Store

Not only are AT&T negotiating on how big a cut Roku and Amazon take from HBO Max subscription fees, AT&T and its WarnerMedia unit are reportedly insisting that HBO Max programming be viewed within its dedicated app and not dis-aggregated into the respective “channels” components of the Roku and Amazon Prime Video ecosystems, as is the case with legacy app HBO Now. 

Also read: HBO Max: Everything You Need to Know

Distribution into both video device ecosystems is vital for HBO Max’s success. Roku touted nearly 40 million active users at the end of the first quarter. It’s the top video device ecosystem in North America. Notably, AT&T and Roku just ended an impasse that kept the AT&T TV app out of the Roku Channel Store for the last four months. 

With more than 40 million active users worldwide, Amazon Fire TV is the top ecosystem globally and ranks just behind Roku in the U.S. 

HBO Maxalready has deals to be included on Apple TV and Android TV.

AT&T's soon-to-be CEO and current COO, John Stankey, said last week that a Fire TV agreement is unlikely by May 27.