Amazon, HBO sign exclusive multiyear content deal

Online video has become a Wild West shootout with new media company gunslingers battling to sign programmers to long-term deals. The latest winner in the battle--although the war has just begun--is Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), which signed an exclusive multiyear online deal with HBO.

According to an Amazon press release, the deal makes Amazon Prime Instant Video "the exclusive online-only subscription home for select HBO programming" with the first batch of content arriving May 21. The agreement marks the first time that HBO programming was licensed to an online-only subscription streaming service--effectively shutting out Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) and Hulu from some of television's more popular content.

The programming will also remain on HBO platforms for HBO subscribers.

The initial series to show up on Amazon Prime are pretty prime, including "The Sopranos," "Six Feet Under," "The Wire", "Deadwood," "Treme" and "Boardwalk Empire" among other original programming and mini-series like "Band of Brothers" and "John Adams." Other ongoing HBO programming such as "Veep," "The Newsroom" and "Girls" will pop up about three years after airing on HBO.

"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," Programming Sales President Charles Schreger said in the release.

Glenn Whitehead, executive vice president of business and legal affairs, who worked on the deal said it is a way to capitalize on HBO's investment in programming.

"We couldn't think of a better partner to entrust with this valuable collection," Whitehead said, adding that the deal also brings HBO Go to Amazon's Fire TV where HBO customers will have a "compelling experience" with features like unified voice search.

Fire TV is a small box that plugs into an HDTV to provide access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime, and low cost video rental, Amazon said.

For more:
- see this press release

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