Amazon and AT&T’s WarnerMedia division have reached an extension agreement that will allow users of Amazon Fire TV connected TV devices to keep streaming HBO’s legacy service directly through the HBO app.
The two sides have yet to hammer out a deal that will enable users of Fire TV-enabled streaming sticks, boxes and smart TVs to use the new HBO Max app, however.
But for now, the extension means that Fire TV users can still use the erstwhile HBO Now app. Effective August 1, that legacy app, and the legacy HBO streaming service, are being rebranded as simply “HBO.”
If a deal hadn’t been reached, Fire TV users would have still been able to access HBO content through mechanisms like the Amazon Prime Video Channels app. They just wouldn’t have been able to use a standalone HBO’s app.
As for HBO Max, it has about four times as much content as legacy HBO, drawing not just from the programming resources of WarnerMedia’s premium cable unit, but also outlets ranging from Turner Networks to Warner Bros. Pictures. HBO Max also has a burgeoning library of original shows, although WarnerMedia’s ambition for originals has been understandably curtailed by pandemic-related studio shutdowns.
What HBO Max does lack, however, is distribution. Since it launched May 27, the two leading connected TV OS operators, Roku and Amazon, have not supported the new app.
For its part, Amazon has been accused of trying to undermine what is essentially a rival SVOD service to Amazon Prime Video.
Testifying to a House Committee earlier this week, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos chalked the impasse up to large media-tech companies just doing what they do when they negotiate. He expressed confidence that a deal to bring HBO Max to Amazon Fire TV would be hammered out shortly.
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