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For HBO Subscribers Through Cable & Streaming, HBO Max Will Require App to Get Full Set of Content

Jason Gurwin

Over the past months, HBO has announced a number of launch partners of HBO Max including Hulu, YouTube TV, Spectrum, Cox, Altice, Samsung, PlayStation, Microsoft, Apple, and Google. While you can subscribe to HBO Max through those services, you won’t necessarily get the entire HBO Max experience, without installing the separate HBO Max app.

Hulu confirmed this subscribers today saying that you can watch HBO Hits on Hulu, but will need to download the HBO Max app for additional content.

So for subscribers on services like Hulu and YouTube TV, you will get HBO (and HBO content) natively from their respective interfaces, however to get HBO Max shows like Friends and Max Originals like Anna Kendrick’s “Love Life” — you’ll need to install the HBO Max app. Once there, you can log-in with their cable or streaming credentials to access the app.

So for the subscriber, it’s nice that they can access the HBO Max App, even if they sign-up through a third-party — but it’s a bit of nuisance that they can’t get all their content from their cable or streaming provider’s native interface.

But making this decision was an important one for WarnerMedia and HBO Max.

First, it means that to access the full set of HBO Max content, will require you to have HBO Max App on your streaming player or mobile device. But more importantly, it means that they can capture valuable data. Currently, when someone accesses HBO through a cable or streaming subscription, they know very little about your viewing habits.

Now, since they will need to log-in to HBO Max, they get valuable data about what you’re watching — and more importantly can build a customer relationship. This way if a user ever unsubscribes from their cable package or Live TV Streaming Service, HBO Max can still try to retain that user.

This seems to be part of their on-going dispute with Roku and Amazon. Currently, subscribers can sign-up for HBO through Prime Video Channels and The Roku Channel. You can stream all the content directly from Roku and Amazon, without the need of a separate app. Now, HBO Max wants to use those platforms for distribution, but don’t necessarily want to pay them a their ~30% monthly cut for maintaining a subscription.

If they do reach a deal, it wouldn’t be surprising if the only content that you can access from Prime Video Channels and The Roku Channel is that from HBO — and the broader Max content library will require you to install a separate HBO Max App.

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