Amazon.com is now streaming the first wave of HBO programming, including original series “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “True Blood,” on Prime Instant Video under the exclusive deal the companies reached last month.
The pact covers library programming that originally aired on HBO three or more years ago. That includes all seasons of “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Deadwood,” “Rome,” “Six Feet Under,” “Eastbound & Down,” “Enlightened” and “Flight of the Conchords.”
In addition, Amazon Prime members will have access to select seasons of current series such as “True Blood,” “Boardwalk Empire” and “Treme,” again which are at least three years old.
Other HBO content available includes miniseries “Band of Brothers,” “The Pacific,” “John Adams,” “Parade’s End” and “Angels in America”; original movies “Mary and Martha,” “Temple Grandin” and “You Don’t Know Jack”; original comedy specials from Louis CK, Ellen DeGeneres, Lewis Black and Bill Maher; and documentaries including “When the Levees Broke” and “Ghosts of Abu Ghraib.”
Analysts estimate that Amazon will pay at least $200 million to HBO, and as much as $400 million, over the life of the multiyear pact. Netflix did not bid for the HBO content, Netflix CFO David Wells said this week (nor did the cabler offer to license it to Netflix).
“We’re thrilled to deliver this collection of groundbreaking, beloved content from HBO to Amazon Prime members for unlimited streaming at no additional cost,” said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon.
The HBO programming is available only to Amazon Prime members in the U.S. The deal excludes new and future shows on HBO, which means “True Detective” and “Silicon Valley,” for example, will not be coming to Amazon Prime Instant Video under the terms of the present deal. In addition, HBO has not licensed “Game of Thrones” to Amazon, while three older shows that are tied up in U.S. syndication deals — “Sex and the City,” “Entourage” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” — are also excluded.
Down the road, Amazon will bring more HBO shows to Prime Instant Video after they come into the window three years after the seasons air. That is to include current shows like “Girls,” “The Newsroom” and “Veep.”
Also under the pact, HBO Go will become available on the Amazon Fire TV set-top later this year.
The deal with HBO represents Amazon’s most aggressive move to compete with Netflix for streaming-video share. Other exclusive TV series acquisitions the ecommerce giant has made include Fox’s “24” and “24: Live Another Day”; CBS’s “Under the Dome”; PBS series “Downton Abbey” and “Mr. Selfridge”; FX dramas “The Americans” and “Justified”; BBC America’s “Orphan Black”; TNT’s “Falling Skies”; NBC’s “Hannibal”; and MTV’s “Teen Wolf.”