With seven days to go earlier than HBO Max launches, Roku and WarnerMedia are racing to hammer out a deal to get the super-size streamer on Roku’s common over-the-top TV platform. However sorry, Amazon Fireplace TV homeowners: It seems that HBO Max is not going to be there for you on Might 27.
WarnerMedia and Roku are at the moment in negotiations on a pact for HBO Max, a Roku spokesperson confirmed to Variety.
The primary sticking factors on a HBO Max/Roku settlement doubtless revolve round how massive a reduce of subscription charges Roku will take, in addition to WarnerMedia’s obvious insistence that HBO Max be made out there as an app (with out the choice of being a channel add-on in the Roku Channel). The talks additionally would cowl particulars of how Roku markets HBO Max on the platform. After Roku’s put in base almost doubled the final two years — from 20.eight million in Q1 2018 to 38.9 million as of March 2020 — the corporate has aggressively sought extra favorable phrases in renewing distribution offers with content material suppliers.
In an announcement, the Roku rep mentioned, “Because the No. 1 streaming platform in the U.S. with over 40 million lively accounts that depend on Roku to entry their favourite packages and to find new content material, we’re targeted on coming into into win-win distribution agreements with all new OTT providers as a part of their launch methods. Whereas we don’t sometimes remark on particular deal phrases or negotiations, the actual fact is that in this occasion whereas we imagine that HBO Max would profit vastly from distribution on Roku at launch, we don’t at the moment have an settlement in place.”
A WarnerMedia spokesperson advised Variety there was “nothing new to report” vis-a-vis a deal for HBO Max on Roku.
Observe that Roku has engaged in hardball ways in the current previous: This February, Roku and Fox Corp. inked a last-minute deal to maintain Fox’s channels on the OTT platform in time for Tremendous Bowl LIV.
WarnerMedia’s HBO Max talks with Amazon, in the meantime, could possibly be at an deadlock. Beneath present agreements, HBO Now has been out there on Fireplace TV platforms for almost 5 years (and HBO subscriptions can be found as an choice via Amazon Prime Video Channels).
At an funding convention on Might 13, AT&T incoming CEO John Stankey mentioned, “I’m happy to say we’re going to be in nearly all app shops” with HBO Max at launch — with “possibly one exception. It appears like we might not be in the Amazon Fireplace app retailer when all of that is mentioned and executed.”
Past rev-share phrases for HBO Max, holdouts like Roku and Amazon — which collectively had 69% market share of U.S. OTT households in early 2019, Parks Associates estimated — are objecting to WarnerMedia’s push to have present HBO prospects swap to HBO Max apps. That might imply present HBO prospects who get the service via the Roku Channel or Prime Video Channels can be pressured to maneuver to the HBO Max app to get the expanded bucket of content material — and thus go away the Roku and Amazon built-in video environments.
Wall Road analysis agency LightShed Companions mentioned the dynamics of the OTT partnerships in a weblog put up final week. Given WarnerMedia’s present technique to ship HBO Max as an app expertise (a la Disney Plus and Netflix), the analysts wrote, “subscribers will in the end gravitate away from [third-party] platforms even when watching legacy HBO content material. HBO Max desires to drive time spent and engagement on its personal platform, not third-party platforms.”
Up to now, WarnerMedia has accomplished a number of key offers for HBO Max, together with with Disney’s Hulu, Apple, Constitution Communications’s Spectrum, Google and YouTube TV. HBO Max subscriptions are also additionally out there instantly, in addition to from AT&T (WarnerMedia’s mother or father), which is bundling HBO Max free for high-end service tiers.
In addition to Roku and Amazon, massive distributors nonetheless lacking from HBO Max’s launch matrix embrace Comcast, Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Dish Community/Sling TV (though HBO has been darkish on Dish since November 2018 in order that looks as if a nonstarter).
Amid the scramble to safe distributors, WarnerMedia earlier this month launched a brand new HBO Max promotional pricing supply for direct-billed subscribers: The promo fee of $11.99 monthly for one yr (20% lower than the common $14.99/month) is out there up till the Might 27 launch date for brand new and returning HBO Now subs. Even at the discounted fee, WarnerMedia could web barely extra per-subscriber income than if somebody pays for the service via companions — which every maintain a share of the subscription payment.
HBO Max guarantees a whopping 10,000 hours of content material to stream immediately. That can embrace all of the programming on HBO; a slate of recent originals; third-party licensed content material like full seasons of “Pals,” “The Huge Bang Idea,” “South Park,” “Sesame Road,” and “Fairly Little Liars”; the entire movies from Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli; and flicks from Warner Bros., New Line and DC like “Joker,” “Suicide Squad,” “Marvel Girl,” “The Matrix,” “Casablanca” and “The Wizard of Oz.”
As well as, HBO Max will carry content material from different WarnerMedia manufacturers together with CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Traditional Motion pictures, Cartoon Community, Grownup Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Enamel and Looney Tunes.