HBO Max Lands Amazon Fire TV Carriage Deal, Ending Six-Month Drought

HBO Max has filled in a major gap in its distribution scheme, setting a deal with Amazon Fire TV to make the streaming service available in more than 40 million U.S. homes.

The WarnerMedia offering, which debuted May 27, had been activated by 8.6 million customers as of September 30. Most of those are current subscribers of HBO able to access HBO Max at no extra charge. While the early progress of the service has been subdued compared with that of rivals like Disney+, executives at AT&T and WarnerMedia say it is on track to meet internal projections.

Along with Amazon, HBO Max has lacked a distribution deal on Roku, the other major gatekeeper of streaming. Those discussions as yet have not borne fruit.

The Amazon news comes after months of saber-rattling. AT&T CEO John Stankey, speaking last month at a Wall Street Journal conference, complained about “bottlenecks” in dealmaking with digital distributors. “We should ask ourselves, is that friction somebody really feeling their oats and maybe having market power above and beyond what’s reasonable for innovation?” he said.

As the current arrangement takes effect, the HBO app on Fire TV and Fire tablets will automatically update to become the HBO Max app. Customers will be able to log in using their existing HBO credentials. New customers can also subscribe to HBO Max directly in the app. All existing HBO Max customers – regardless of how they subscribe to the platform – can now access all of HBO Max via supported Fire TV and Fire tablet devices using their existing provider credentials.

“We are very excited that Amazon customers will now be able to enjoy the best-in-class content that lives within HBO Max,” said Tony Goncalves, Head of Sales and Distribution for WarnerMedia. “Our continued goal is to make HBO Max and its unparalleled content available to customers across all the devices they love. Fire TV is a favorite among customers and we look forward to working with the Amazon team to engage and grow our existing subscriber base by showcasing all that HBO Max has to offer.”

“We’ve worked closely with HBO for many years to bring their great content to Fire TV and to make it easier to discover and enjoy with features like search integration, Alexa and personalized recommendations,” said Marc Whitten, VP of Amazon Entertainment Devices and Services, “We are excited to continue that partnership with the launch of HBO Max.”

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