Amazon will remove HBO from Amazon Channels next year

In a win for AT&T’s WarnerMedia, HBO will no longer be available as an Amazon channel after their current placement deal ends next year, according to people familiar with the matter.

Today, HBO’s presence in the Amazon Channel Store allows users to watch regular HBO programming within the Amazon Fire TV user interface, making it easy for consumers to subscribe and sign up. But the placement was a key sticking point in negotiations to get the company’s separate streaming service HBO Max on the Amazon Fire TV platform, according to people, who were not named because the terms of the deal are private.

Negotiations lasted for months before concluding with an agreement this week.

HBO Max includes additional material available on HBO, such as “South Park and” The Big Bang Theory. “Over time, WarnerMedia would like the HBO Max application to be the only point of entry to HBO services on the streaming platform.

While this user interface distinction may seem cryptic to most consumers, it matters a lot to WarnerMedia. Placing customers within the HBO Max application allows WarnerMedia to have a direct relationship with consumers and use viewer information that can be used for targeted information. The ad-supported version of HBO Max is slated for launch next year.

Consumers who have purchased HBO through Amazon channels will be able to log into HBO Max through the HBO Max application at no additional charge. The legacy HBO will remain in the channel store until its agreement – which is cut off from the HBO Max deal – will expire next year.

Nevertheless, keeping HBO and HBO Max out of the Amazon Channel Store could hurt customer growth.

With the Amazon deal, WarnerMedia will focus its attention on compromising with Roco, the largest streaming video platform for market share, people said. Roku also has a channel business, fighting to avoid HBO Max. WarnerMedia will also have to come to an advertising revenue sharing agreement with Roku similar to NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which reached an agreement with Roku in September.

WarnerMedia and Amazon spokespersons declined to comment.

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