Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has secured an exclusive deal with HBO to offer older seasons of HBO programming through its Prime Instant Video streaming service. Prime Instant Video will soon offer the entirety of popular HBO series like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under as well as episodes of new series, including Veep and Girls but not Game of Thrones, three years after they air. While some might question whether this older programming is really all that valuable, HBO has created so many hugely critically acclaimed series that binge watchers who currently don’t have access to shows like The Sopranos will be on cloud nine once they get the complete HBO series Amazon will start serving up on May 21.
This is a crucial deal for Amazon, which wants its streaming service to better compete with Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX). Netflix doesn’t have the rights to any HBO programming, which means it’s missing out on a ton of popular shows that Amazon now has. Premium cable channels like HBO, Starz, and Showtime have been reluctant to license their shows to on-demand services as they still want people to sign up for premium cable subscriptions in order to get their content. But traditional cable is an aging model, and more people are turning to much less expensive streaming services to get their TV fix.
HBO has its own streaming service called HBO Go, which will be launched on Amazon’s Fire TV set-top box as a part of the deal. This is the first time that HBO has licensed its programming to an outside online streaming service.
“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 in the companies’ press release. “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.”