HBO Max, Amazon Finally Strike Deal to Bring App to Fire TV Devices

HBO Max Warner Media Investor Day - Logo 2019- Getty 2- H 2020
Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia

The WarnerMedia streamer launched in May without distribution on Roku or Amazon devices, but the deal with Amazon increases its availability significantly.

Warner Media has reached a deal to distribute six-month-old streaming service HBO Max on Amazon Fire TV devices.

The deal could help HBO Max reach millions of potential subscribers as the fledging service looks to grow its audience.

Amazon is the second most-used streaming platform in the U.S. behind Roku, with tens of millions of users. The deal with Amazon means that Roku is the last major platform without a deal to carry HBO Max.

At the center of WarnerMedia's distribution negotiations is how the platforms classify the service. The previously launched HBO Go and HBO Now apps were treated as channels and sold through Amazon's a la cart subscription offering. But WarnerMedia wants HBO Max to be treated more like standalone services Netflix or Disney+.

Under the new deal with Amazon, existing HBO subscribers who purchased the subscription through Amazon Channels will have access to HBO Max at no additional cost.

HBO Max's absence on Roku and Amazon devices has only complicated its brand positioning. When the service launched, it joined a lineup of WarnerMedia apps that included HBO Go (for cable subscribers) and HBO Now (for online subscribers). Though WarnerMedia upgraded most of those subscribers to HBO Max immediately after the service's launch, Roku and Amazon users were stuck with the original offerings, which only include HBO programming and don't feature the expanded library or HBO Max originals.

In a move to streamline its app branding (and to pressure Roku and Amazon to strike a deal for HBO Max), WarnerMedia announced this summer that it would sunset HBO Go and rebrand HBO Now as, simply, HBO. The changes didn't affect "the majority of HBO Go customers," per a WarnerMedia representative, because they had already been upgraded to HBO Max. But Go and Now customers accessing the apps via Roku or Amazon would see the changes.

Alex Weprin contributed to this report.