×

HBO Shows Will Leave Amazon Streaming Service After Next Year

HBO has made the strategic decision to pull its library shows off of Amazon’s streaming service after the current licensing pact ends in mid-2018, HBO chairman-CEO Richard Plepler told investors Wednesday during Time Warner’s first-quarter earnings call.

The move reflects HBO’s focus on growing the subscriber base of its HBO Now standalone digital service. Amazon Prime is among the many digital content providers that HBO has teamed with to market HBO Now.

Plepler’s comments indicate that the pace of HBO Now sales through Amazon is strong enough that the licensing deal for a host of older series, including “The Sopranos” and “The Wire,” cut in 2014 no longer made sense. HBO Now’s features include an expansive on-demand library of virtually all HBO original series of the past three decades. In essence, the availability of older HBO shows on Amazon’s paid streaming platform amounted to competition for the library component of HBO Now.

“I don’t think you’ll see us extend or expand our library programming on Amazon beyond the end of next year,” Plepler said. He cited the “enormous momentum” of sales through Amazon’s service set up to help market streaming offshoots of traditional TV channels such as HBO, Showtime and Starz.

Plepler said HBO Now was also seeing strong momentum in sales through DirecTV Now, the low-cost digital MVPD service that launched late last year by AT&T. AT&T and HBO parent Time Warner, of course, are in the midst of an $85.4 billion merger that is expected to close by year-end, as Time Warner chairman-CEO Jeff Bewkes reiterated on the call.

The Amazon licensing pact was estimated to be worth $250 millon-$300 million to HBO over the four-year term of the deal. Clearly, HBO has decided to play the long game and build up the subscriber base for HBO Now rather than grab the cash from an SVOD library pact.

At the time the Amazon-HBO deal was announced, the plan was for newer HBO series such as “Game of Thrones” and “Girls” to become available to Amazon three years after a series finished the entirety of its original run on HBO. With the licensing deal ending next year, however, HBO’s current wave of shows will not make it to Amazon Prime.

(Pictured: “Six Feet Under”)

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Urges Gavin Newsom to Sign Law Punishing 'Deep Fake' Videos

    SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White is urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign legislation that institutes penalties for nonconsensual digital sexually explicit videos, also known as “deep fakes.” The legislation, Assembly Bill 602, targets companies and individuals who create and distribute the videos in California without the consent of the individual being depicted. “We urge Gov. [...]

  • Facebook Portal logo

    Facebook Is Launching a Portal TV Device: Here’s What We Know

    Facebook is getting ready to launch a TV streaming device in time for the holiday season, Variety has been able to confirm with multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. The new streaming hardware will be part of the company’s Portal family of devices, featuring a camera, and combining video chatting with TV viewing and [...]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Shuts Down, With Parent Company Citing Failure to Raise Funds

    MoviePass, the long-struggling theater subscription service, finally appears to be down for the count. On Friday, MoviePass notified remaining subscribers that it would be shutting down the service effective Sept. 14, 2019, because “its efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date,” parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics announced. “The company is continuing [...]

  • Disney Plus - Full Lineup

    How to Browse the Disney Plus Catalog the Company Is Testing in the Netherlands

    Disney began testing its Disney Plus streaming service in the Netherlands this week. Consumers in the U.S. will have to wait until November 12 to get access to the service, but European streaming aggregator JustWatch already makes it possible to browse the catalog available during this beta test. JustWatch is one of a number of [...]

  • JoJo Siwa'The Angry Birds Movie 2'

    Nickelodeon Star JoJo Siwa Gets Her Own Dance-Tour Mobile Game (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fans of JoJo Siwa will be able to join the teen influencer’s dance squad on stage — virtually — in a new mobile game. In “JoJo Siwa — Live to Dance,” players will become part of the Nickelodon and YouTube star’s worldwide tour on her professional dance team and experience what it’s like to be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content