HBO Is Coming To Amazon—And You Don’t Need To Be A HBO Subscriber

Amazon on Wednesday announced a licensing agreement with HBO, which will bring a number of premium shows to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video Service and bring the HBO Go mobile app to the company’s new Fire TV set-top streaming box, which was announced and released earlier this month.

“As owners of our original programming, we have always sought to capitalize on that investment. Given our longstanding relationship with Amazon, we couldn’t think of a better partner to entrust with this valuable collection,” said HBO’s Glenn Whitehead, executive vice president of business and legal affairs, in a press release. “We’re also excited to bring HBO GO to Amazon’s Fire TV. The features like unified voice search will provide a compelling experience for HBO customers.”

Starting May 21, HBO will deliver several original series to Amazon Prime subscribers, although most of the series are on the older side: The collection includes The Wire, Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, Enlightened, Treme and early seasons of True Blood and Boardwalk Empire. Amazon will also get a number of HBO mini-series, including Band of Brothers and John Adams, but many of the network’s more popular current shows, like Game Of Thrones, Girls and True Detective, are absent from the list.

The licensing agreement is the first time that HBO has made its shows and content available to subscription-based streaming services. Viewers can buy single episodes or seasons of HBO content like Game Of Thrones through Apple’s iTunes or Amazon Instant Video, but HBO’s debut on Amazon Prime will be the first time HBO has licensed content to a third-party video streaming service.

Though HBO is only providing a limited number of shows for Amazon Prime subscribers, the company’s HBO GO app, which features over 1,700 titles including original films, miniseries, sports, documentaries and specials—not to mention every episode of every HBO series ever made—will hit Amazon’s Fire TV set-top later this year. 

With support from HBO—plus its own exclusive original series coming later this year—Amazon has what it takes to compete with rival set-top devices like Roku and Apple TV, but the content will also help it compete with Netflix, which doesn’t have any licensing agreements with HBO—or any proprietary hardware, for that matter.

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