HBO Max’s Forssell on Deal with Roku: ‘We’ll Get It Done’

Andy Forssell
(Image credit: WarnerMedia)

“We’ll get it done.”

In what is perhaps the most affirmative statement yet regarding HBO Max’s six-month distribution impasse with Roku, Andy Forssell, the top product executive for the streaming service told CNET Thursday that it’s only a matter of time before a deal with the No. 1 OTT platform operator gets done.

Forssell and other WarnerMedia executives were making the press rounds following the media conglomerate’s landmark announcement that it will premiere all 17 Warner Bros. theatrical releases day-and-date on HBO Max.

Also read: HBO Max Gets WarnerMedia’s Entire 2021 Film Slate Day and Date

The consensus emerging from the numerous outlets who got on the phone with these executives Thursday afternoon: WarnerMedia and Roku are in at least somewhat advanced stages of talks to put the HBO Max app on the top connected TV device system in the U.S.

But the WarnerMedia theatrical slate announcement will do little to accelerate the timeline.  

Roku, Forssell added to CNET, has "been a good partner for years; they'll be a good partner for years to come. We’ll figure something out. I have nothing to say about the timeline, and I don't think today's announcement changes anything dramatically ... but we already both had really strong imperatives to find a way to work together. So we have to go do that, and we'll get it done." 

WarnerMedia and Roku continue to work out how streaming from the HBO Max app will be handled on the Roku platform. WarnerMedia wants consumers to use the HBO Max app, while Roku wants to continue to disaggregate HBO content through its own app, as it did for the legacy HBO Now. The discussion has implications for who gets important assets like consumer data.

The two sides are also working out how advertising revenue will be shared once WarnerMedia launches an ad-supported version of HBO Max next year. 

The negotiations mirror, at least to a large degree, those WarnerMedia also conducted with Amazon to successfully establish HBO Max on Amazon Fire TV. 

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!