HBO Max is back on Amazon Prime Video in the US just over a year after its departure.
Prime Video subscribers can pay an additional $14.99 per month to receive the channel, which includes “House of the Dragon”, “The White Lotus” and reruns of “The Big Bang Theory”. That’s the standard fee for the streaming service.
The return of HBO Max, announced on Tuesday, signals the near-complete dissolution of AT&T’s business strategy by parent company Warner Bros. Discovery, while the Dallas telecom giant owned both Warner and HBO properties.
Since Discovery’s David Zaslav took control of HBO, television and film studio Warner Bros. and prominent cable channels, CNN, Cartoon Network and TBS in April, the company has distanced itself from AT&T’s signature actions.
For example, Zaslav wasted no time scrapping future-proof streaming service CNN+ because cable customers who receive CNN continue to unplug. Warner Bros. Discovery considered the service, which cost more than $300 million to design and build, to have too wide a reach, especially given its meager early subscriber numbers.
AT&T clashed with Amazon almost two years ago over the distribution of HBO Max.
AT&T wanted consumers to access HBO’s popular programming through its own apps, rather than one controlled by Amazon. AT&T CEO John Stankey insisted his company maintain a direct relationship with its viewers, in part because AT&T would then control user data to learn about consumer behavior and their experiences with the company’s product.
If Amazon sells the subscription through its Amazon Prime Video Channels service, it gets a share of the revenue and maintains the relationship with the subscriber. HBO Max suffered a loss of nearly 5 million subscribers when WarnerMedia removed it from Prime Video in September 2021, and some consumers cried.
However, Warner Bros. Discovery wants to work more closely with others in the industry.
More importantly, the entertainment company desperately needs additional subscribers and revenue to grow its bottom line. Discovery’s merger with WarnerMedia earlier this year left the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery with more than $50 billion in debt on its books. Such colossal debt worries shareholders, especially since the advertising market has slumped dramatically since the merger in April.
His stock was sluggish. The shares traded at less than $11 a share on Tuesday — less than half their value when the merger closed.
Warner Bros. Discovery has laid off hundreds of employees, including at its HBO, Warner Bros. Television and CNN units.
The company is also facing a shareholder lawsuit alleging that HBO Max subscriber numbers were inflated prior to the merger.
“Warner Bros. Discovery is committed to bringing HBO Max to the widest possible audience while advancing our data-driven approach to better understand our customers and best serve their viewer interests,” Bruce Campbell, Chief Revenue and Strategy Officer, Warner Bros. Discovery said in a statement to announce the move.
The move should also be a streaming service boost for Amazon, which has also laid off employees.
Amazon’s Vice President for Prime Video, Cem Sibay, said in a statement: “We are committed to providing our customers with the best and broadest selection of premium content for their everyday viewing experience.”
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2022-12-06/hbo-max-returns-to-amazon-prime-warner-bros-discovery HBO Max returns to Amazon Prime Video channels for $14.99 a month