Amazon and HBO announced a multi-year deal this morning that marks a major move for Amazon Prime Instant Video.
First off in the good news, an HBO Go app is on its way to Amazon’s Fire TV. This was one of the biggest complaints consumers had when the TV streaming device launched, but it is indeed on its way. Just as it does on every other device, however, it will require you to sign in with the credentials of a paying customer – be it your own or a friend’s – to access the content.
The even better news, and a major first for any TV streaming service, is that HBO series will also be coming to Amazon Prime subscribers for free. No other streaming service has been able to secure such a deal before, and this has just moved Amazon Prime Instant Video from a second-tier service into being a major contender against the market leading Netflix.
Before you get too excited and think you will be watching the latest Game of Thrones within hours of it airing, the deal calls for seasons to be held for three years from their original airings on HBO. This does mean, however, you will have access beginning May 21 to complete series of classic HBO shows such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome, Six Feet Under and more.
HBO programming has been the dream of many TV streaming fans for years, and while it won’t be the latest shows, it will certainly be a feather in Amazon’s cap to be the first service to be able to include the shows for its customers. As the deal is labeled as being exclusive, don’t expect Netflix or Hulu to come out with an announcement any time soon saying that they have also secured the rights.
At $99 a year ($8.25) a month, Amazon Prime Instant Video is currently the most expensive TV streaming option on the market, but that is about to change for new customers as Netflix will raise its price to $8.99 or more this summer. Existing customers will receive a “generous” grace period before seeing their bills go up. The HBO deal will definitely make signing up for Amazon that much more attractive to consumers, and with the other features of the service such as unlimited two day shipping and Kindle books to borrow, and the HBO shows are like icing on the cake.
Will the HBO shows be enough to make you choose Amazon Prime Instant Video as your TV streaming service of choice? We’ll just have to wait and see.1
Amazon and HBO Ink Exclusive Multi-Year Deal to Bring Award-Winning HBO Programming To Prime Members
For the first time ever, favorite HBO series like, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Big Love, Eastbound & Down, Oz, Band of Brothers and Deadwood, as well as Early Seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood, will become available on Amazon Prime Instant Video
HBO GO coming to Amazon’s Fire TV
SEATTLE—April 23, 2014—(NASDAQ:AMZN)—Amazon.com, Inc. today announced a content licensing agreement with HBO, making Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-only subscription home for select HBO programming. The collection includes award-winning shows such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Big Love, Deadwood, Eastbound & Down, Family Tree, Enlightened, Treme, early seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood, as well as mini-series like Band of Brothers, John Adams and more. Previous seasons of other HBO shows, such as Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will become available over the course of the multi-year agreement, approximately three years after airing on HBO. The first wave of content will arrive on Prime Instant Video May 21. This is the first time that HBO programming has been licensed to an online-only subscription streaming service. This programming will remain on all HBO platforms.
In addition, HBO GO will become available on Fire TV, targeting a launch by year-end. HBO GO is HBO’s authenticated streaming service offering subscribers instant access to over 1,700 titles online including every episode of new and classic HBO series, as well as HBO original films, miniseries, sports, documentaries, specials and a wide selection of blockbuster movies.
“HBO has produced some of the most groundbreaking, beloved and award-winning shows in television history, with more than 115 Emmys amongst the assortment of shows coming to Prime members next month,” said Brad Beale, Director of Content Acquisition for Amazon. “HBO original content is some of the most-popular across Amazon Instant Video—our customers love watching these shows. Now Prime members can enjoy a collection of great HBO shows on an unlimited basis, at no additional cost to their Prime membership.”
“Amazon has built a wonderful service—we are excited to have our programming made available to their vast customer base and believe the exposure will create new HBO subscribers,” said Charles Schreger, President of Programming Sales for HBO.
“As owners of our original programming, we have always sought to capitalize on that investment. Given our longstanding relationship with Amazon, we couldn’t think of a better partner to entrust with this valuable collection,” said Glenn Whitehead, Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, who along with Schreger headed up HBO’s negotiating team. “We’re also excited to bring HBO GO to Amazon’s Fire TV. The features like unified voice search will provide a compelling experience for HBO customers.”
Beginning May 21, Amazon Prime members will have unlimited streaming access to:
- All seasons of revered classics such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, and of recent favorites such as Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords
- Epic miniseries, including Angels in America, Band of Brothers, John Adams, The Pacific and Parade’s End
- Select seasons of current series such as Boardwalk Empire, Treme and True Blood
- Hit original movies like Game Change, Too Big To Fail and You Don’t Know Jack
- Pedigreed documentaries including the Autopsy and Iceman series, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and When the Levees Broke
- Hilarious original comedy specials from Lewis Black, Ellen DeGeneres, Louis CK and Bill Maher
The multi-year deal will bring additional seasons of the current series named above, along with early seasons of other series like Girls, The Newsroom and Veep to Prime members over the life of the deal.
Earlier this month, Amazon introduced Fire TV, a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more. Fire TV also brings photos, music, and games to the living room. Meet Amazon Fire TV at www.amazon.com/FireTV.