Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and HBO announced today, April 23rd, that a number of popular HBO shows and the streaming service HBO Go will be available to Amazon Prime customers as part of the Amazon Instant Video subscription service.
This deal marks the first time HBO (owned by Time Warner Inc) has licensed any of its programming to an online subscription streaming service, and is also a major step forward for Amazon in its ongoing content streaming battle with Netflix.
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Broad range of popular HBO shows
The content licensing deal announced today will bring a slew of popular shows to Amazon subscribers. Mega hits such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Big Love, Deadwood and early seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood will all be available.
Original movies including Too Big to Fail and Game Change will also become available, as will original comedy specials from Lewis Black, Louis C.K., Ellen DeGeneres and Bill Maher. The deal calls for the shows to become available three years after they are first shown on HBO. This means new episodes of shows such as Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will be not be available for quite some time.
However, shows including Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex and the City, and Entourage are not part of the agreement due to syndication deals. Analysts have speculated that Game of Thrones was not in the deal because it is too valuable to part with (or maybe Amazon didn’t want to pay the price HBO wanted).
Amazon service works like Netflix
Amazon Instant Video has the same business model as Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX). Subscribers pay a monthly fee for the right to stream as many movies as they want from Amazon’s video library. Furthermore, current subscribers to Amazon Prime receive Amazon Instant Video for free as a membership benefit. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has also been making a major effort to beef up its content lately, making deals with a number of large studios and commissioning original shows.
The HBO shows in the package will become available on Amazon Instant Video by May 21. HBO Go will also be available on Amazon’s Fire TV by the end of the year.