HBO’s shows will disappear from Amazon’s SVOD platform in mid-2018, with the premium cable programmer electing not to renew its distribution deal.
“As we see the progress and sub revenue acceleration in our digital business, I don't think you are going to see us extend or expand our relationship with our library programming on Amazon, and we have no plans to do that beyond the end of the date, which is the end of next year," said HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler, speaking to investment analysts today during parent company Time Warner Inc.’s earnings call. (The call was covered by The Hollywood Reporter and other publications.)
The decision isn’t necessarily rooted in abandonment of Amazon’s powerful distribution platform though. Plepler said HBO has established “enormous momentum” with Amazon in terms of distributing the programmer’s own SVOD/livestreaming service, HBO Now.
With Amazon so successful in proliferating HBO’s own streaming platform, Plepler said it no longer made sense to renew a licensing deal cut in 2014, which put older HBO series like The Sopranos and The Wire on Amazon Instant Video.
In December, Amazon revealed that it was selling HBO Now and Cinemax via its Amazon Channels service. Amazon is offering a streaming version of HBO for $14.99 and Cinemax for $9.99 per month.
Plepler, meanwhile, said HBO Now is also seeing strong sales through DirecTV Now, the virtual MVPD platform recently launched by corporate suitor AT&T, which is currently trying to buy Time Warner Inc. for $85.4 billion.