Peacock, NBCUniversal’s ad-supported streaming service, has landed on Roku devices as of Monday morning and HBO Max may not be far behind.
NBCU officially announced the launch this morning after confirming an agreement with Roku late Friday. The company said the deal brings Peacock’s household reach up to an estimated 100 million.
“We are excited to bring Peacock and its unrivaled catalog to millions of Americans who enjoy entertainment on their favorite Roku devices,” said Maggie McLean Suniewick, president of business development and partnerships at Peacock, in a statement. “Roku customers are engaged streamers and we know they’ll love access to a wide range of free and paid content.”
The Peacock-Roku deal is the first domino to fall in concurrent distribution dust-ups with AT&T and Comcast on one side and Amazon and Roku on the other. Recent comments from AT&T leadership suggest that an HBO Max-Roku deal could be next.
HBO Max launched on May 27 without apps on Amazon or Roku devices and the service has yet to reach an agreement with either platform. However, AT&T CEO John Stankey told Bloomberg last week that he’s optimistic that HBO Max will land on one of those platforms “in relatively short order.” He also suggested that a deal with one may force the hand of the holdout, since it would be hard to “be the Lone Ranger standing out there on its own.”
Stankey didn’t specify which platform may soon settle its differences with HBO Max but past comments suggest that it will be Roku.
During AT&T’s most recent earnings call, Stankey specifically called out Amazon – which counts nearly 5 million HBO subscribers through its Amazon Prime Video Channels platform – and said his company has “tried repeatedly” to make HBO Max available to Amazon’s HBO subscribers.
“Unfortunately, Amazon has taken an approach of treating HBO Max and its customers differently than how they’ve chosen to treat other services and their customers,” said Stankey. “We’re glad to have agreements in place with, among others, Apple TV and Google Chromecast to give customers the right to stream HBO Max on those devices.”
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar last month told Bloomberg that the fourth quarter could increase the pressure on device makers to make HBO Max deals so they have the same content lineup as their competitors.
“As we head into the fourth quarter, when gift giving happens, it becomes a more material situation for a seller of hardware. There are alternatives in Google Chromecast and Apple TV,” Kilar told the publication.
Analyst firm Rosenblatt agrees and said its expects a deal with HBO Max to happen before the holiday shopping season.