HBO Max has been out in the world for about two and a half months now with no availability on Amazon Fire devices. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar thinks that could change later this year.
Kilar spoke with Bloomberg about a range of topics including WarnerMedia’s ongoing distribution fight with Amazon. He said he’s “optimistic” that HBO Max will eventually arrive on Amazon devices and pointed toward fourth-quarter pressures that could help move along a potential deal.
“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.
Last month, AT&T CEO John Stankey said that his company has “tried repeatedly” to make HBO Max available to all customers using Amazon Fire devices including customers who have purchased HBO through Amazon Prime Video Channels.
“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 during his company’s second-quarter earnings call. “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.”
Amazon, which said it has nearly 5 million HBO streamers currently accessing their subscription through Amazon’s Prime Video Channels, has accused AT&T of “choosing to deny these loyal HBO customers access to the expanded catalog.”
“We believe that if you’re paying for HBO, you’re entitled to the new programming through the method you’re already using. That’s just good customer service and that’s a priority for us,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement issued in May.
As Kilar and WarnerMedia continue sorting through the HBO Max distribution dust-ups with Amazon and Roku, the relatively new CEO is making substantial changes to WarnerMedia’s leadership.
Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer, and Kevin Reilly, chief content officer for HBO Max and president of TNT, TBS and TruTV, are both leaving the company. Andy Forssell, general manager of HBO Max, will now lead a newly created HBO Max operating business unit. Ann Sarnoff, Warner Bros. Chair and CEO, will lead the newly created Studios and Networks Group, combining original production (content studios) and programming capabilities currently spread across Warner Bros., HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS and TruTV. Casey Bloys, president of HBO Programming, will take on original content responsibilities for HBO Max and the domestic linear networks TNT, TBS, and TruTV.