HBO Classics Coming to Amazon Prime

By Jordan Chariton 

AmazonHBO-Logo2Amazon is continuing its streaming-TV push, partnering with HBO on a multi-year deal to exclusively bring classic HBO shows to Amazon prime subscribers, the two companies announced today.

Starting May 21, “The Sopranos,” “Six Feet Under,” “The Wire,” “Big Love,” “Eastbound & Down,” “Oz,” “Band of Brothers,” and “Deadwood” will become available on Amazon Prime instant video, at no additional cost to subscribers. Early seasons of current shows will also be available, including “Boardwalk Empire” and “True Blood.” Other hit shows, including “Girls,” “The Newsroom,” and “Veep” will become available in later years of the agreement.

These shows will still be available on HBO Go, but will be exclusive to Amazon, meaning Netflix and Apple TV users won’t be able to stream them on those platforms. The partnership marks the first time HBO has licensed its series to a web-only service.

“HBO original content is some of the most-popular across Amazon Instant Video—our customers love watching these shows,” Brad Beale, Director of Content Acquisition for Amazon,said. “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.

In addition, HBO GO will become available on Fire TV, Amazon’s recently-announced set-top box.

Some of the shows left out of the deal include “Sex and the City,” “Entourage” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” which have their streaming rights owned as part of syndication deals with TV outlets.

And re/code reports HBO is keeping its hit fantasy show, “Game of Thrones,” out of the deal, seeing the show as too valuable to the network to allow free streaming.

On its face, the deal is a major victory for Amazon; it gives it a main differential marker from Netflix, whose users can now only rely on mail delivery to watch these HBO shows. Whether access to these classic HBO shows, some who’ve been off-air for over five years, will draw increased users to Amazon, remains to be seen.