AT&T ‘optimistic’ about HBO Max deal with Comcast

Incoming AT&T CEO John Stankey called it a “bit ironic” that one of the concerns leading up to AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner was that AT&T would withhold content from traditional distributors. (HBO Max)

Today’s launch for HBO Max has been mired somewhat by the service’s absence from Amazon and Roku streaming devices. But the company is hopeful about reaching a deal with another major MVPD.

Incoming AT&T CEO John Stankey told CNBC that he’s “optimistic” that HBO Max can reach a distribution agreement with Comcast.

“We have a broad list of distributors who are working with us. Most of the traditional MVPD market, the pay TV market, is actually signed on,” said Stankey. “They’re going to be successful distributors with HBO Max just like they were with HBO.”

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HBO Max of course has distribution agreements with parent company AT&T’s TV services. The SVOD also has deals in place with Cox, Hulu, Optimum, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios TV and some independent cable providers like WOW!, Atlantic Broadband, RCN and MCTV. Existing HBO customers on those services can log into HBO Max using their existing provider’s username and password.

RELATED: HBO Max arrives without support from some major distributors

Stankey also discussed HBO Max going forward without an app on either Roku or Amazon Fire devices, which he said was a result of both companies electing not to be distributors of HBO Max. He said that HBO Max “must be doing something right if somebody now believes we’re starting to be more in conflict with their business.”

“I don’t necessarily take that as a bad sign,” Stankey said.

He also brought up litigation that happened as AT&T pursued its acquisition of Time Warner. He called it a “bit ironic” that one of the concerns leading up to that deal was that AT&T would withhold content from traditional distributors.

Stankey said there is now a dynamic where we have new technology distributors who are electing not to distribute a product.

“I think that dynamic is an important one to understand. It just shows you how fast the markets are moving and how we have to respond to those changes,” Stankey said.

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