On Tuesday, Amazon announced that HBO Max would return to Amazon Prime Video. Prime members and Prime Video standalone subscribers in the U.S. can access HBO Max once again. For $14.99 a month, subscribers will get access to 15,000 hours of curated premium content, including exclusive series House of the Dragon, Game of Thrones and Westworld and originals, from Warner Bros. Discovery and their family of brands. Interested viewers can subscribe to HBO on a special HBO landing page on the Prime Video dashboard. No cable or long-term commitment required.
“We strive to offer customers the best and widest selection of premium content available for their everyday viewing experience,” said Cem Sibay, vice president, Prime Video. “It’s truly been a milestone year for Prime Video, and we are humbled by the viewer engagement and critics’ response to our marquee releases. Now with the addition of HBO Max again, customers can easily add this subscription and enjoy even more award-winning and fan favorite entertainment on Prime Video.”
HBO had been available on Prime Video previously, but WarnerMedia and Amazon finally agreed to remove HBO from the Prime Video platform, says the Hollywood Reporter, effective September 15, 2021. As a result, HBO lost an estimated 5 million subscribers. WarnerMedia is now part of Warner Bros. Discovery, and HBO is back.
J.B. Perette, CEO and president of global streaming and games at Warner Bros. Discovery commented as well.
“Our common goal is to delight customers with great content and continue to collaborate and innovate so we can best serve our subscribers,” said Perette in Amazon’s announcement.
Why the change of heart?
When Warner Bros. Discovery released their financials at the beginning of November, they revealed that total revenue was $9.8 billion, an 8% decrease year-over-year. The company also reported a $2.3 billion loss. There was some positive news though. The company’s direct-to-consumer subscription services saw an increase of 2.8 million subscribers since the previous quarter. Of that total, 53.5 million subscribers were domestic, so they would be able to subscribe to HBO through Prime Video, whereas the 41.4 million international subscribers would not.
With revenue declines and billions of dollars in losses, Warner Bros. Discovery needs to stop the bleeding and quickly. Part of their solution is to lay off hundreds of employees at CNN. This appears to be another part of their business strategy – lean into the things that are working.
There are still unanswered questions. For example, what deal did Amazon and Warner Bros. Discovery strike to make this possible? Will Amazon get a share of the subscription revenue, or did they agree to other terms advantageous to both sides? Regardless of the financial arrangement, HBO and HBO Max will have additional visibility on the Prime Video platform. Bringing back 10,000 subscribers at $14.99 a month, would bring in $1,798,800 in a year’s time. That isn’t huge when compared to Warner Bros. Discovery’s losses, but it is a start.