Under a new deal between Warner Bros. Discovery and Amazon that extends at least through the end of 2024, customers who subscribe to HBO Max through Prime Video Channels in the U.S. will automatically be upgraded to the forthcoming consolidated HBO Max/Discovery+ service next spring.
HBO Max’s return to Prime Video Channels comes after the premium streamer, under WarnerMedia, dropped off Prime Video Channels in September 2021, after the media company and Amazon failed to reach an agreement to extend the distribution pact. The sticking point: WarnerMedia, then owned by AT&T, wanted more control of the direct-to-consumer relationships — including the ability to collect data for targeted advertising — than Amazon was willing to cede. About 5 million HBO/HBO Max customers had subscribed through Prime Video Channels, and the end of that deal took a bite out of HBO Max’s subscriber base.
Now, as of Tuesday (Dec. 6), HBO Max is once again on Prime Video Channels in the U.S. under the multiyear deal between Amazon and Warner Bros. Discovery (formed by Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia this year).
Business terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. In a statement about the new Prime Video Channels deal, Bruce Campbell, Warner Bros. Discovery’s chief revenue and strategy officer, noted that “Warner Bros. Discovery is committed to making HBO Max available to as broad an audience as possible while also advancing our data-driven approach to understanding our customers and best serving their viewing interests. Today, we are thrilled to take an important step forward by announcing that HBO Max is returning to Prime Video Channels.”
Prime members can sign up for HBO Max for $14.99 per month, the same price as through other platforms, through the Prime Video app or by visiting amazon.com/channels/hbomax. Additionally, subscribers will have access to Warner Bros. Discovery’s combined HBO Max/Discovery+ streaming service when it launches, targeted for the spring of 2023. WBD has not said whether existing HBO Max customers on other platforms also will be migrated to the merged service, which is reportedly likely to end up being called “Max.” Nor has the company released pricing details, including whether customers who subscribe to HBO Max through Prime Video Channels will see their monthly fee increase with the HBO Max/Discovery+ fusion.
“We strive to offer customers the best and widest selection of premium content available for their everyday viewing experience,” Cem Sibay, VP of Prime Video, said in a statement. “Now with the addition of HBO Max again, customers can easily add this subscription and enjoy even more award-winning and fan-favorite entertainment on Prime Video.”
HBO Max provides about 15,000 hours of content, aggregating original programming from HBO, Warner Bros. and DC, as well as HBO Max originals and films and licensed third-party content. Under Warner Bros. Discovery, the service has cut back on some content spending.
Warner Bros. Discovery does not break out HBO/HBO Max sub numbers in its quarterly reports. In Q3, its direct-to-consumer subscribers inched up 2.8 million worldwide across HBO, HBO Max, Discovery+ and smaller DTC streaming services, to reach 94.9 million. The direct-to-consumer unit’s EBITDA loss doubled year over year, from $309 million in Q3 2021 (on a pro-forma basis) to $634 million in the most recent quarter. DTC segment revenue declined 7% (on a pro-forma basis) to $2.32 billion.