Roku’s streaming video aggregation hub The Roku Channel today announced it's adding HBO to its list of available premium subscriptions, just in time for the final season of “Game of Thrones.”
HBO will be priced at $14.99 per month and it, along with Cinemax, will join the more than 25 premium subscription add-ons available for The Roku Channel.
“Just in time, The Roku Channel users will have a chance to watch the final season of ‘Game of Thrones’ on their favorite platform,” said Jeff Dallesandro, senior vice president of worldwide digital distribution and new business development at HBO, in a statement.
Roku already offers access to more than 10,000 free, ad-supported movies and TV episodes as well as premium subscriptions. But, adding HBO puts the service on a more level playing field with competitors, including Amazon Channels, Apple TV+, Comcast Xfinity Flex and Hulu.
“Game of Thrones” is arguably the biggest television premiere for 2019, and so it stands to reason that pay TV and streaming video platforms would want to offer access to it.
One notable exception right now is Dish Network and its virtual MVPD Sling TV, which lost both HBO and Cinemax at the start of November 2018 amid a carriage dispute between AT&T’s WarnerMedia and Dish.
Dish said that AT&T is demanding that Dish pay for a guaranteed number of HBO subscribers. The company accused AT&T of trying to use increased HBO rates at Dish to subsidize free streaming services for its wireless subscribers, and generally lower streaming service rates.
HBO responded by saying that in its more than 40 years of operation, it always has been able to reach agreements with distributors, but that Dish is being “extremely difficult,” and is responding to good faith negotiations with “unreasonable terms.”
While that dispute is ongoing, AT&T’s own vMVPD DirecTV Now has rolled out two new channel packages – Plus (priced at $50/month) and Max (priced at $70/month) – both of which include HBO.