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Roku CFO Says They’re Still In Negotiations With WarnerMedia Over HBO Max

Stephanie Sengwe

When HBO Max launched back in May, one of the biggest points of contention among users was the fact that the streaming service wasn’t available on Roku devices or Amazon Fire TVs. WarnerMedia amended the latter earlier this week when they announced that the streaming service will officially be available on Fire TVs and Fire tablets beginning Nov. 17.

Though WarnerMedia crossed a huge milestone by snagging a deal with Amazon, it seems they are still at the drawing table with Roku. During the RBC’s Global Technology, Media, Internet and Telecommunications Conference, Roku CEO Steve Louden revealed the two companies are still trying to figure out the best way to move forward.

“We generally don’t talk about where we’re at in deals,” Louden stated. “But we continue to talk to folks and our goal is to have all content on there. Similar to the Peacock situation, we’re not always first. But we’ve got a very good idea of what the market is and how much value we can create. We’ve got the biggest, most engaged user base in the U.S. and so hopefully we can get a deal done.”

Roku and Peacock struck a deal to bring the NBCUniversal-backed streaming service to the platform back in September.

Though they haven’t struck a deal, in October, Roku added AirPlay support, which enables workaround access to HBO Max.

Louden also offered some insight on how streaming services are performing on the platform, especially now that there is a wide variety to choose from. Overall, he reported that even though Netflix’s performance has dwindled a bit, the streaming giant maintains the top spot among its competitors.

“They’re the number one app on the platform. But as a comparison point, when I started at Roku, about five years ago, they were roughly 50 percent of the streaming and now they’re under a third. And usually they tick down over time, as other players grow around them,” Louden explained.

“Certainly, you’ve seen new entrants come into the streaming world, over the last year or two that have made waves. So most notably, Disney+, so that’s diversified some of the top viewing, certainly the Roku channel didn’t exist three years ago or roughly three years ago, and so that’s now a Top 10 app.”