Amazon and HBO just announced a licensing agreement that will let Amazon Prime members watch HBO content.
The first wave of HBO content — which includes old shows like “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” — will arrive on Prime Instant Video by May 21, with other, more recent shows like “Girls” and “Newsroom” rolling out later, approximately three years after they have aired on HBO (sorry, no Game Of Thrones just yet).
HBO GO, the company’s streaming service that gives access to its vast catalogue of new and old shows and movies, will also be available on Amazon’s Fire TV by the end of the year.
Last month, Amazon raised the price of its Prime memberships from $US79 to $US99. Prime members get unlimited free, two-day shipping on many items as well as access to Amazon Instant Video. Besides this huge new influx of HBO content, Amazon is also releasing a handful of original shows this year.
By beefing up its video content, Amazon is making Prime subscriptions more attractive to potential members and the more people that sign up for Prime, the better for Amazon (people with Prime spend almost double the amount of money on Amazon as non-members). This news also comes hot-on-the-heels of the release of Amazon’s Fire TV streaming video box. The box costs $US99.99 and Amazon likely hopes that adding more “free” content will convince people to ditch AppleTV or Roku to buy it.
Here’s the press release:
Amazon.com, Inc. today announced a content licensing agreement with HBO, making Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-only subscription home for select HBO programming. The collection includes award-winning shows such as The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Big Love, Deadwood, Eastbound & Down, Family Tree, Enlightened, Treme, early seasons of Boardwalk Empireand True Blood, as well as mini-series like Band of Brothers, John Adams and more. Previous seasons of other HBO shows, such as Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will become available over the course of the multi-year agreement, approximately three years after airing on HBO. The first wave of content will arrive on Prime Instant Video May 21. This is the first time that HBO programming has been licensed to an online-only subscription streaming service. This programming will remain on all HBO platforms.
In addition, HBO GO will become available on Fire TV, targeting a launch by year-end. HBO GO is HBO’s authenticated streaming service offering subscribers instant access to over 1,700 titles online including every episode of new and classic HBO series, as well as HBO original films, miniseries, sports, documentaries, specials and a wide selection of blockbuster movies.
“HBO has produced some of the most groundbreaking, beloved and award-winning shows in television history, with more than 115 Emmys amongst the assortment of shows coming to Prime members next month,” said Brad Beale, Director of Content Acquisition for Amazon. “HBO original content is some of the most-popular across Amazon Instant Video — our customers love watching these shows. Now Prime members can enjoy a collection of great HBO shows on an unlimited basis, at no additional cost to their Prime membership.”
“Amazon has built a wonderful service — we are excited to have our programming made available to their vast customer base and believe the exposure will create new HBO subscribers,” said Charles Schreger, President of Programming Sales for HBO.
“As owners of our original programming, we have always sought to capitalise on that investment. Given our longstanding relationship with Amazon, we couldn’t think of a better partner to entrust with this valuable collection,” said Glenn Whitehead, Executive Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs, who along with Schreger headed up HBO’s negotiating team. “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.
Beginning May 21, Amazon Prime members will have unlimited streaming access to:
– All seasons of revered classics such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, and of recent favourites such as Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords
– Epic miniseries, including Angels in America, Band of Brothers, John Adams, The Pacific and Parade’s End
– Select seasons of current series such as Boardwalk Empire, Treme and True Blood
– Hit original movies like Game Change, Too Big To Fail and You Don’t Know Jack
– Pedigreed documentaries including the Autopsy and Iceman series, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and When the Levees Broke
– Hilarious original comedy specials from Lewis Black, Ellen DeGeneres, Louis CK and Bill Maher
The multi-year deal will bring additional seasons of the current series named above, along with early seasons of other series like Girls, The Newsroom and Veep to Prime members over the life of the deal.
Earlier this month, Amazon introduced Fire TV, a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more. Fire TV also brings photos, music, and games to the living room. Meet Amazon Fire TV at www.amazon.com/FireTV.
Prime Instant Video Exclusives
Prime Instant Video is the exclusive online-only subscription home for PBS series Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, the CBS summer blockbuster series Under the Dome and Extant, and other hit TV series including 24,Veronica Mars, Orphan Black, The Americans, Justified, Falling Skies, Grimm, Workaholics, Suits and Covert Affairs. Prime Instant Video also offers an exclusive collection of kids shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. that customers won’t find on any other online-only subscription service, including favourites like SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues, and The Bubble Guppies. Airing now, Amazon’s first original series Alpha House and Betas can be found exclusively on Prime Instant Video as well. To sign up for Amazon Prime Instant Video, visit www.amazon.com/primeinstantvideo.
Amazon Prime members will be able to enjoy the episodes on hundreds of compatible Amazon Instant Video devices, including Fire TV, Kindle Fire HDX, Kindle Fire HD, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation and the Wii. Prime Instant Video is the only U.S. online subscription streaming service that enables offline viewing — on a plane, on vacation, and anywhere else where you may not have Wi-Fi. Customers can download tens of thousands of Prime Instant Video titles to their new Kindle Fire HD or Kindle Fire HDX.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.