HBO wants to place more eggs into its own HBO Now stand-alone digital service basket and thus, the network will not be offering its slate of programming to Amazon Prime Video subscribers come 2018.
Richard Plepler, chairman and CEO, confirmed the decision during Time Warner’s first-quarter earnings call on Wednesday, noting that HBO programming would no longer be available for streaming on Amazon starting May 2018, once the existing licensing agreement expires.
Currently, Amazon Prime Video subscribers can access all episodes of legacy HBO series like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and The Wire through the service. With HBO Now already offering the network’s entire library of original content dating back as far as 30 years, naturally, HBO would prefer viewers watch it there. Though Plepler does credit Amazon with helping gain momentum for the HBO Now streaming offshoot service. It is also worth noting that HBO content is also available through the DirecTV Now service launched by AT&T. (Time Warner, which owns HBO, is currently in the middle of a merger of AT&T.)
HBO’s original deal with Amazon was inked back in 2014 and presumably served as a strategy to get cord-cutters interested in HBO series, in hopes of enticing them to sign on to a cable or satellite subscription to gain access to more HBO programming. But then, the HBO Now subscription video-on-demand service was launched in 2015 as its own stand-alone service to augment the television network. It pushed the provider directly into the cord-cutting game, effectively competing directly with services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix by allowing anyone to view current and library HBO titles without a cable or satellite TV subscription. As at February, HBO Now reported having about 800,000 subscribers.
Bottom line: Enjoy binging those old HBO favorites on Amazon now, as they won’t be available in exactly one year. And if you were hoping to binge newer HBO series, like Girls, which just ended, and Game of Thrones, on Amazon Prime, don’t hold your breath. You will have to pivot over to HBO Now for that.