Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has entered into a multiyear partnership with HBO that makes the e-commerce company's Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-based subscription service to offer past seasons of exclusive HBO programming.
The deal marks the first time HBO programming has been licensed to an online-only subscription streaming service. Previously, the only way for consumers without HBO to watch the network's shows would be by purchasing DVDs or individual episodes through Amazon or Apple's iTunes store.
Content is king when it comes to becoming a preferred provider, and the availability of HBO's original programming is a coup for Amazon, and likely to win over more subscribers.
Beginning May 21, Amazon Prime subscribers will have unlimited streaming access to shows that are normally available only to HBO subscribers. The list includes popular series such as "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "The Wire" and "Deadwood." As part of the deal, HBO will decide which shows will be available on Prime, and shows will only become part of the Prime trove three years after their initial airing.
Amazon's new HBO partnership is a big win for the Internet retailer in its rivalry with Netflix, the on-demand category leader. The move might be an attempt to offset some of the backlash Amazon received after it recently announced a price increase for new Prime subscribers. Amazon now charges $99 for the annual membership which includes access to Amazon Prime Instant Video and a digital library for Kindle owners.
In addition, Amazon and HBO have teamed up for HBO Go service, which will become available on Amazon Fire TV by the end of 2014. HBO Go is HBO's authenticated streaming service, available to pay-TV subscribers of the channel, that provides more than 1,700 titles including every episode of HBO's original series and other content.
Earlier this month, Amazon announced its long-rumored streaming device, Amazon Fire TV, a set-top box that plugs into any HDTV for instant access to services such as Netflix, Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus. The device retails for $99 and is similar to competing devices from Chromecast, Roku or Apple TV (NASDAQ:AAPL).
-See this Amazon press release
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