WarnerMedia’s HBO Max is now stay, packing in twice the content material of legacy HBO for a similar $14.99 month-to-month worth. However for now, it’s unavailable on Roku and Amazon’s streaming platforms, which signify greater than 80 million TV households.
At the moment, you’ll be able to’t entry HBO Max on Roku or Amazon Fire TV units, and in case you’ve subscribed to HBO by means of Roku Channels or Prime Video Channels you’re additionally out of luck. That’s irritating for patrons who use these platforms, and it clearly will inhibit HBO Max’s preliminary uptake. Talks between WarnerMedia and the 2 corporations proceed, however there’s no indication when the events might come to any agreements.
Pre-launch, WarnerMedia had secured a dozen distribution offers for HBO Max. Then on Wednesday the corporate introduced that it additionally sealed a pact with Comcast for the streaming service.
However the absence of Roku and Fire TV platforms represents an enormous hole in HBO Max’s attain: Roku had 39.eight million energetic person accounts on the finish of March (and that’s greater now). In January, Amazon stated Fire TV had over 40 million energetic customers; the corporate says that quantity is greater now however isn’t offering an up to date determine.
In keeping with Amazon, almost 5 million HBO subscribers presently entry the premium service by means of Prime Video Channels.
Others providing HBO Max embrace AT&T (WarnerMedia’s dad or mum), Apple, Google and YouTube TV, Hulu, Constitution, Samsung, Altice USA, Cox, Verizon and the Nationwide Cable Tv Cooperative (NCTC), in addition to for Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4.
What’s the stumbling block for Roku and Amazon?
In keeping with sources, in addition to haggling over revenue-sharing phrases, a key objection the OTT corporations have with HBO Max is the shift to an app-based distribution mannequin, during which the entire content material is funneled by means of WarnerMedia’s walled backyard — as a substitute of by means of the Roku and Amazon channel platforms. In the meantime, there are points to be resolved about how promoting shall be divvied up for an ad-supported, lower-cost model of HBO Max that WarnerMedia plans to launch in 2021.
John Stankey, AT&T’s incoming CEO and former head of WarnerMedia, spoke concerning the lack of HBO Max offers with Roku and Amazon in an look on CNBC’s “Squawk Field” earlier Wednesday.
“Roku and Amazon at this level have elected to not be distributors,” he stated. “We should be doing one thing proper if someone believes we at the moment are beginning to be extra in battle with their enterprise, so I don’t essentially take that as a foul signal.”
Regardless of the absence of Roku and Amazon, he added, “Now we have a broad listing of distributors who’re working with us.”
Stankey stated that the irony within the present standoffs, from the place he sits, is that when the U.S. authorities sued to dam AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, the priority was that the telco would withhold content material from distributors. “What we’ve got now’s we’ve got new distributors, new know-how distributors, who’re electing to not distribute the product,” Stankey stated. He additionally complained that the antitrust problem to AT&T’s Time Warner bid set again the corporate’s capability to pursue its greater direct-to-consumer technique for a yr and a half.
In an announcement about HBO Max, a Roku spokesman advised Variety, “We’re centered on mutually optimistic distribution agreements with all new OTT companies that can ship a high quality person expertise to viewers within the greater than 40 million households that select Roku to entry their favourite packages and uncover new content material. Sadly we haven’t reached settlement but with HBO Max. Whereas not on our platform right this moment, we sit up for serving to HBO Max sooner or later efficiently scale their streaming enterprise.”
Amazon, for its half, stated in an announcement: “AT&T is selecting to disclaim these loyal HBO clients entry to the expanded catalog. We consider that in case you’re paying for HBO, you’re entitled to the brand new programming by means of the tactic you’re already utilizing. That’s simply good customer support and that’s a precedence for us.”
HBO Max, during which WarnerMedia plans to take a position $Four billion over the following three years, launched early Wednesday with 10,000 hours of premium content material (though that’s lower than one-third the lineups of Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime).
“Our aim, frankly, is to not be Netflix — it’s to be one thing completely different,” Stankey stated on CNBC. “Our aim isn’t to crush Netflix. It’s to fulfill buyer wants.”
Content material on HBO Max consists of all of the programming on HBO; all eight “Harry Potter” motion pictures; a slate of latest originals; full seasons of “Mates,” “The Huge Bang Concept,” “Rick and Morty,” “Sesame Avenue” and “Fairly Little Liars”; all movies from iconic animation home Studio Ghibli; and films from Warner Bros., New Line and DC like “Marvel Girl,” “The Matrix,” “Joker,” “Suicide Squad,” “Casablanca,” “Loopy Wealthy Asians” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
WarnerMedia introduced further TV reveals and films coming to HBO Max in June, together with all seasons of “South Park.” As well as, HBO Max has content material from different WarnerMedia manufacturers, together with CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Traditional Films, Cartoon Community, Grownup Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Enamel and Looney Tunes.