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HBO Strikes Deal With Amazon in Japan

U.S. pay-TV giant HBO is to license its catalog and streaming rights in Asia’s second largest market via Amazon Prime Video.

The video streaming platform is an extension of the Amazon Prime home shopping and delivery membership scheme which launched last year in Japan. (Amazon Prime Video was present in Japan from 2015.) Amazon Prime Video will stream both current and older HBO series in Japan, from April 1.

The move is an initiative of the HBO parent company in the U.S., rather than HBO Asia. HBO Asia is headquartered in Singapore and currently serves 23 Asian territories, excluding Japan.

Without having to pay additional fees, Amazon Prime Japan subscribers will be able to watch six seasons of “Game of Thrones,” and some 50 past and present shows including “Big Little Lies,” “Silicon Valley,” “The Sopranos” and “The Wire.” They will be available six months after their linear premier on Tohokushinsha’s Star Channel. The service will also soon begin to pick up series that are current from 2018.

HBO has a prior exclusive deal with Hulu Japan for some series and had previously sold a limited number of shows to Amazon Video for Japan. The HBO content available on Amazon Video until now had been to all Amazon customers to rent or buy. From April, additional content will be available at no extra charge for Prime members.

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