Last month, WarnerMedia reported that HBO Max had grown to 28.7 million subscribers, but that few of those customers were “upset,” meaning they arrive by standalone subscriptions to the HBO Max app, as will be available on Amazon Fire TV. Instead, most customers came from wholesale agreements, that is, from a pay-TV provider. Only 3.6 million were considered direct customers. Amazon is known for having a pretty firm line in negotiations with programmers and broadcasters. It has agreed with Disney to run Disney just five days before the service`s launch last November. After a long battle between Amazon and HBO`s owner, WarnerMedia, the two companies have agreed that Amazon Fire TV users will finally be able to broadcast HBO Max. The looming question of whether this means a deal with Roku, the other major streaming aggregator to which HBO Max is currently absent, will be announced shortly. WarnerMedia and Roku have often stated publicly that they want to work as fast as possible in a market, so that with Amazon and WarnerMedia, which are in business, I hope there won`t be much waiting time for Roku owners – and especially that Roku and Comcast developed a deal not so long ago to finally settle a similar dispute about NBC`s Peacock streaming service. “Our other goal is to make HBO Max and its unparalleled content available to customers on any device they love,” Tony Goncalves, WarnerMedia`s director of sales and sales, said in the press release.
“Fire TV is popular with customers, and we look forward to working with the Amazon team to engage and expand our existing subscriber base by showing everything HBO Max has to offer.” The HBO Max app will be available Tuesday on Amazon Fire TV streaming devices, smart TVs and tablets, WarnerMedia said. Jason Kilar, a chief technology officer who was the founding CEO of Hulu and also worked at Amazon, took over as CEO of WarnerMedia in May, just before the launch of HBO Max. With Amazon, HBO Max has breached a distribution contract regarding Roku, the other big gate keeper streaming with about 46 million active accounts. So far, these discussions have not paid off. As the current provision comes into effect, the HBO app is automatically updated on Fire TV and Fire tablets to become the HBO Max app. Customers can connect with their existing HBO registration information. New customers can also subscribe directly to HBO Max in the app, which achieves WarnerMedia`s central goal of keeping customers in the app and thus having more access to public data. All existing HBO Max customers, regardless of how they subscribe to the platform, can access HBO Max via the Fire TV and Fire tablets via their existing connection.
Fire TV integrations also allow Amazon customers to launch and navigate through HBO Max`s voice using Alexa commands like “Alexa, find HBO Max” or “Alexa, find Game of Thrones” and more. WarnerMedia did not disclose the terms of the agreement with Amazon. The two companies had been negotiating for several months. The deal is important for HBO Max, which is trying to keep pace with rivals like Netflix, Disney and Hulu. HBO Max will be available nationally on all Amazon devices, including Fire TV streaming devices, TVs and Fire TV tablets. HBO subscribers via Amazon Prime Video Channels can upgrade to HBO Max at no additional cost, adding a new user base for the service before the ad-supported 2021 phase. Under the new agreement, existing HBO subscribers on Amazon will be able to use the HBO Max app at no additional cost, as well as anyone who already has access to HBO Max. The deal marks the end of a months-long standoff between the two companies that prevented HBO Max from being available on Amazon Fire TV. As of January, Amazon Fire TV had more than 40 million users.