HBO Max launched Wednesday with distribution deals in place with a long list of partners and platforms. But don’t expect to binge watch Game of Thrones or check out Max Originals like Elmo’s Not Too Late Show on Roku or Amazon Fire TV just yet. Deals have not yet been made with two of the largest streaming platforms.
Prior to the launch of HBO Max, the company sent the following statement about distribution partners that they haven’t yet made deals with: “We are doing everything in our power to make HBO Max available to as many customers as possible and our distribution team is hard at work trying to complete additional deals before launch.”
Currently, Roku and Amazon Fire TV users cannot download an HBO Max app. While the limitation is frustrating for users, it will also hinder HBO Max’s ability to grow subscriber numbers. Nearly 80 million households use Roku or Fire TV devices for streaming.
What are Amazon and Roku saying?
An Amazon spokesperson said: “With a seamless customer experience, nearly 5 million HBO streamers currently access their subscription through Amazon’s Prime Video Channels. Unfortunately, with the launch of HBO Max, AT&T is choosing to deny these loyal HBO customers access to the expanded catalog. We believe that if you’re paying for HBO, you’re entitled to the new programming through the method you’re already using. That’s just good customer service and that’s a priority for us.”
A Roku spokesperson made this statement: “As the No. 1 streaming platform in the US we believe that HBO Max would benefit greatly from the scale and content marketing capabilities available with distribution on our platform. We are focused on mutually positive distribution agreements with all new (over-the-top) services that will deliver a quality user experience to viewers in the more than 40 million households that choose Roku to access their favorite programs and discover new content. Unfortunately we haven’t reached an agreement yet with HBO Max. While not on our platform today, we look forward to helping HBO Max in the future successfully scale their streaming business.”
While there are no deals in place for these platforms yet, HBO Max is ready to launch on both Roku and Amazon Fire TV as soon as those deals are made. CNET reports that executive vice president of WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer Andy Forssell said that apps for both platforms have been developed and that when deals are made, the apps could be made available “minutes later.”
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