As news surfaced about Netflix increasing its prices to new members (and to existing members in a year or two), Amazon was signing a content licensing agreement with HBO, making Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-only subscription home for select HBO programming.
Amazon has been pushing its Prime Instant Video for some time now, but it’s upping the ante and strengthening its position in the online streaming media game. The deal with HBO will give Prime members access to shows that include The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Big Love, Deadwood, Eastbound & Down, Family Tree, Enlightened, Treme, early seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood, as well as mini-series like Band of Brothers and John Adams.
Previous seasons of other HBO shows, such as Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will become available over the course of the multi-year agreement, approximately three years after airing on HBO. The first wave of content will arrive on Prime Instant Video May 21. This is the first time that HBO programming has been licensed to an online-only subscription streaming service. This programming will remain on all HBO platforms.
In addition, HBO GO will become available on Fire TV, targeting a launch by year-end. HBO GO is HBO’s authenticated streaming service offering subscribers instant access to more than 1,700 titles online including every episode of new and classic HBO series, as well as HBO original films, miniseries, sports, documentaries, specials and a wide selection of blockbuster movies.
Earlier this month, Amazon introduced Fire TV, described by the company as a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime and low-cost video rentals.
“HBO has produced some of the most groundbreaking, beloved and award-winning shows in television history, with more than 115 Emmys among the assortment of shows coming to Prime members next month,” said Brad Beale, director of content acquisition for Amazon. “HBO original content is some of the most-popular across Amazon Instant Video—our customers love watching these shows. Now Prime members can enjoy a collection of great HBO shows on an unlimited basis, at no additional cost to their Prime membership.”
“Amazon has built a wonderful service — we are excited to have our programming made available to their vast customer base and believe the exposure will create new HBO subscribers,” said Charles Schreger, president of programming sales for HBO.
“As owners of our original programming, we have always sought to capitalize on that investment. Given our longstanding relationship with Amazon, we couldn’t think of a better partner to entrust with this valuable collection,” said Glenn Whitehead, EVP of business and legal affairs, who along with Schreger headed up HBO’s negotiating team. “We’re also excited to bring HBO GO to Amazon’s Fire TV. The features like unified voice search will provide a compelling experience for HBO customers.”
Prime Instant Video is the exclusive online-only subscription home for PBS series Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, the CBS summer blockbuster series Under the Dome and Extant, and other hit TV series including 24, Veronica Mars, Orphan Black, The Americans, Justified, Falling Skies, Grimm, Workaholics, Suits and Covert Affairs. Prime Instant Video also offers an exclusive collection of kids shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. that customers won’t find on any other online-only subscription service, including favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues, and The Bubble Guppies. Airing now, Amazon’s first original series Alpha House and Betas can be found exclusively on Prime Instant Video as well.