AT&T (NYSE:T) wants to channel its viewers to its HBO Max streaming service. So in a new arrangement with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), announced Friday, the telecom's WarnerMedia division will pull its flagship HBO service from Amazon Prime Video Channels next year in exchange for adding the HBO Max app.
Customers who purchased the HBO service through Amazon Channels will continue to be able to use it by going through the HBO Max app.
A battle for controlling user data
It's a fine distinction between accessing services through Channels versus through an app. In the former, viewers get a seamless experience and are able to sign up and subscribe to the service right through the Prime platform.
The latter is a clunkier subscription process that means leaving the Amazon ecosystem to join, but it gives WarnerMedia greater access to and control over its user data. It's a battle all media companies are waging.
Roku, for example, also allows users experience services through the Roku Channel platform, but HBO Max has yet to make an appearance there. Like Amazon, Roku also maintains control over a percentage of ad inventory on the channel for which it takes a revenue cut, and it kept Comcast's Peacock streaming service off the platform for months after its launch while negotiations raged. Peacock is not available on Amazon's platform yet, either.
HBO Max, which doesn't require a cable subscription, offers everything the legacy HBO service does, but also includes newer content, such as the soon to-be-released Wonder Woman 1984 movie, as well as shows and original programming called Max Originals. WarnerMedia also intends to launch an ad-supported version of HBO Max sometime next year.