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Amazon Says Nearly 5 Million HBO Customers Through Prime Video “Entitled to New Programming” on HBO Max

Jason Gurwin

HBO Max launched this morning and it was noticeably missing support for Comcast, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. WarnerMedia quickly reached a deal with Comcast to bring the service to Xfinity X1 and Flex customers, but those with Fire TV and Roku devices were left in a lurch.

Amazon in a statement to The Streamable said that those who get it through Amazon Prime Video Channels should be entitled to the additional content:

“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.”

At the center of the dispute with Amazon, is whether HBO Max content is available via Amazon Prime Video Channels. Since Amazon already distributes HBO NOW, the sides not only have to reach a deal to upgrade current subscribers to HBO Max, but whether they will continue to distribute it through their marketplace going forward.

HBO NOW is thought to be the most popular service offered via Amazon Prime Video Channels, but it comes at a cost. It has been reported that Amazon keeps 30% of subscription revenue every month, which makes it an expensive channel of distribution. As of mid-2019, HBO NOW had ~8 million subscribers, meaning Amazon Prime Video accounted for over 50% of subscribers.

In addition, those who subscribe to HBO Max through another channel (including HBO Max) directly won’t be able to stream it on Amazon Fire TV devices. With over 40 million active Fire TV devices, you will bet there there will be some unhappy streamers who can’t watch new original series like “Love Life” and past seasons of shows like “Friends”.