Better late than never: WarnerMedia clinched a deal with Comcast for HBO Max, with the final pact officially hammered into place just hours after the super-size streaming service launched earlier Wednesday.
Comcast, one of the last big holdouts in picking up HBO Max, will help expand the fledgling streamer’s reach. The U.S.’s largest cable operator, Comcast reported 20.8 million total video customers as of the end of the first quarter of 2020, though that was down 4.7% from the year prior.
HBO Max is still not available on the two biggest over-the-top platforms, Roku and Amazon Fire TV, including their channel stores.
On Wednesday, WarnerMedia and Comcast announced that access to HBO Max is included for the operator’s current HBO subscribers, with HBO Max eventually to be integrated into Comcast’s guides.
Under the deal, Comcast’s existing HBO subscribers with Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex will be able to log in to HBO Max’s apps and website — for no additional charge — and new customers will be able to sign up for HBO Max at $14.99 monthly directly from Comcast “in the coming days.” The companies said HBO Max will soon be available natively on the Xfinity platforms, alongside nearly 200 other services, including NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video.
WarnerMedia’s goal is to reach 50 million-55 million HBO Max customers in the U.S. by 2025, according to incoming AT&T CEO John Stankey.
News of Comcast’s deal for the new streaming product comes after WarnerMedia inked a dozen distribution agreements ahead of HBO Max’s launch. Those include Apple, Google/YouTube TV, Hulu, Charter, Altice USA, Cox, Verizon, Samsung, Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. In addition, AT&T, WarnerMedia’s parent company, is offering various HBO Max bundling deals and free-trial offers.
HBO Max, in which WarnerMedia plans to invest $4 billion over the next three years, launched with more than 10,000 hours of premium content. That’s roughly double the lineup available on the traditional HBO service.
Content on HBO Max includes everything on HBO and more — including all eight of Warner Bros. “Harry Potter” movies and full seasons of “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Rick and Morty,” “Sesame Street” and “Pretty Little Liars.”
The streamer also has rights to all films from iconic animation house Studio Ghibli and offers movies from Warner Bros., New Line and DC like “Wonder Woman,” “The Matrix,” “Joker,” “Suicide Squad,” “Casablanca,” “Crazy Rich Asians” and “The Wizard of Oz.”