HBO Max's lack of Roku and Amazon support casts a big shadow over its launch day
HBO Maxlaunched on Wednesday, but isn't available for Rokuand Amazon, the two biggest streamingdistribution platforms with a combined 70% market share.
- An HBO representative told Business Insider that "HBO Now will continue to exist on platforms where we don't yet have distribution deals in place."
- Regarding Roku and Amazon, AT&T CEO John Stankey told CNBC, "We must be doing something right if somebody believes we are now starting to be more in conflict with their business."
- Some people voiced their concerns about the lack of distribution on social
WarnerMedia's HBO Max launched on Wednesday, but many potential users won't be able to access it on their TVs.
The new streaming service isn't yet available for Roku and Amazon users, as it failed to reach a distribution deal ahead of launch day. Roku and Amazon are the two biggest streaming distribution platforms, with a combined 70% market share as of July 2019, according to the market research firm Parks Associates.
An HBO representative told Business Insider that "HBO Now will continue to exist on platforms where we don't yet have distribution deals in place."
Max reached a last-minute deal with
Regarding Roku and Amazon, AT&T CEO John Stankey told CNBC on Wednesday: "We must be doing something right if somebody believes we are now starting to be more in conflict with their business, so I don't necessarily take that as a bad sign."
He added that he thought it was "ironic" that a concern involving the AT&T and Time Warner merger — which closed in 2018 for $84.5 billion after the Justice Department tried blocking the deal — was about "withholding content from traditional distributors."
"What we have now is a dynamic where new technology distributors in the digital age are electing not to distribute the product," Stankey said. "I think that dynamic is an important one to understand, and it just shows how fast the markets are moving and how we have to respond to those changes."
Amazon hit back in a statement that illuminates part of the dispute, saying that 5 million HBO subscribers access HBO through Amazon Prime Video's Channels feature (where Amazon has the direct billing relationship with the customer), but can't upgrade to Max.
"AT&T is choosing to deny these loyal HBO customers access to the expanded catalog," Amazon said. "We believe that if you're paying for HBO, you're entitled to the new programming through the method you're already using. That's just good customer service and that's a priority for us."
In a statement to Variety, Roku said: ""We are focused on mutually positive distribution agreements with all new OTT services that will deliver a quality user experience to viewers in the more than 40 million households that choose Roku to access their favorite programs and discover new content."
It added: "While not on our platform today, we look forward to helping HBO Max in the future successfully scale their streaming business."
Some HBO customers with Roku and Amazon voiced their frustrations on social media on Wednesday.
One person tweeted: "So HBO convinces me to cancel HBO Now through Hulu for $14.99 a few weeks ago and subscribe to HBO Max separately for $11.99 but then one hour before going live they tell me that Roku is not on the supported streaming device list? Ridiculous."
Brian Tallerico, an editor for RogerEbert.com, tweeted, "HBO Max has the most diverse streaming film catalog I've ever seen and I can't watch it on my TV because it's not on Roku or smart TVs yet. Sigh."
Those who already subscribe to HBO through participating partners or directly through the standalone HBO Now app will gain immediate access to HBO Max. Otherwise, customers can subscribe to Max for $14.99 per month, the same price as an HBO Now subscription.
The current distribution partners include Apple, Cox, Google Play, Hulu, Optimum, Samsung Smart TV, Spectrum, Suddenlink, VerizonFios, YouTube TV, and more.
AT&T is offering HBO Max at no extra cost to customers with plans that include Unlimited Elite wireless, Internet 1000, AT&T TV Now Max, DirecTV Premier, and U-verse U400, U450. It's offering different deals, ranging from a free month to a free year, for customers on most other plans.Read the original article on Business Insider
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