Amazon to Start Streaming HBO Shows on May 21

Published 8 months ago by

HBO logo Amazon to Start Streaming HBO Shows on May 21

With an enviable roster of exclusive content, many expected HBO to one day enter the fray and take on Netflix and Amazon Prime with a standalone version of HBO Go, but in a surprising move, the pay cabler decided to instead align with Amazon.

As part of this deal, HBO will license episodes of older shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, and The Wire (yes, Omar comin… to Amazon Prime) and some episodes from current shows like Boardwalk Empire and True Blood starting on May 21st. There will also be HBO exclusive comedy specials, original movies, mini-series, and documentaries, but there are some notable omissions.

HBO is holding Game of Thrones – currently their most popular and buzz generating show – out of this deal right now while eventually adding seasons of Veep, Girls, and The Newsroom to the Amazon Prime service. According to Re/Code, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Sex and the City, and Entourage were not included in the deal because their streaming rights are complicated by their respective syndication deals. The HBO/Amazon Prime relationship will also see HBO Go become available on Amazon’s new Fire streaming device.

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones season 4 Amazon to Start Streaming HBO Shows on May 21

So, why not go it alone? According to previous reports, HBO’s resistance to a stand-alone service can be tied to concerns that such a move might encourage more cord cutters while upsetting the lucrative relationships that they have with cable companies and satellite service providers; companies that may already feel under siege thanks to the Aero service and efforts to allow À la carte pricing.

Teaming up with Amazon (who has really only dipped a toe in the original programming pond) over Netflix (who competes with HBO for top talent and critical acclaim) makes sense in that Amazon already sells many single episodes of these shows. The deal also somewhat diminishes a rival while also generating revenue from content that probably isn’t driving new subscribers to HBO (hence the Game of Thrones hold back and the slow roll out of other new shows).

As for consumers, this also represents a win. If you have HBO Go, none of the above mentioned shows will leave that service, and if you are already a cord cutter and you already have Amazon Prime, this at least means that you’ll get more content without having to add another service and another subscription fee to the list.

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  1. Glad I get to re watch The Wire. I like AP more than Hulu plus; however selection in both are improving.

  2. I find this pointless. First of all – Amazon is just crap. No one cares about their streaming/media services. Secondly, if you have subscribed to HBO, then you have HBO Go which has EVERYTHING. If you want to watch HBO on Amazon, it’s much easier to subscribe to the channel and get HBO Go.

    • Join us in the modern age. It’s quite nice.

    • Going to slide right past the “Amazon streaming is crap,” because it really isn’t. Let’s address the “it’s much easier to subscribe to the channel” comment.

      No, it isn’t.

      There is no way to subscribe to HBO without having a cable/satellite subscription. For those of us who do not need/want such a thing, being able to access older HBO shows is a very exciting thing. It should go without saying that since I don’t have a subscription, most of these shows will be new to me, so this deal allows me access to content that I would otherwise never pursue.

      Further, I have Amazon Prime as much for the quick shipping as I do the streaming. I have access to Amazon stream via my XBox Live subscription, which again, I have for reasons outside of watching television. So on May 21, I will have access to all kinds of content I didn’t have access to the day before, and I will have done and paid nothing to get it.

      • Said PERFECTLY Sean

      • Did I spell it right? I swear I said “Amazon streaming is crap” because well, I think it is.

        • Well, that’s your opinion; don’t make it so. As another perfectly satisfied non-Cable-using Amazon Prime user, Sean laid it out perfectly.

        • And since you have spoken, so shall it be!
          We shall lay aside out previously held notions based on real life experience and adopt your clearly superior opinion!

          Hail Big Fudge! Hail the bringer of knowledge!

    • Except HBO refuses to allow an HBOGO app for my TV. I can watch on my phone, my tablet, my computer…but not my TV.

  3. WAHOO!!!! Been waiting for this for while!!

  4. so basically people will still continue to download HBOs main shows because HBO is super over priced.

    • Do you think shows of that quality appear out of thin air?

  5. Seeing that I’m an HBO subscriber through Comcast/Xfinity and can’t get HBO Go through my Roku box this is good news IMO.
    While I don’t mind watching certain things like Youtube videos and trailers on my computer I prefer to watch TV shows and movies on an actual TV.

  6. I’m a Netflix fan myself. Excellent and fast service, very helpful with problems, a want-list queue you can view and change at will, lightning-fast delivery and occasional bonus discs for home delivery service, and a big point with me: the most humungous catalogue of available content imaginable! I would be a Netflix fan, even if they had to raise their rates again due top the market and studios raising their prices for the material Netflix streams. That is not Netflix’ fault if the guys they get their content from jack up the prices. Of course after a certain point, Netflix is forced to experiment with following suit. They absorb what they can of the extra expense to avoid disgruntled penny-pinchers bailing on them. But try finding that much of a content-catalogue for that low price elsewhere…can’t do it, and cable, dish, etc. can be pretty expense for less choices. I have both the streaming service and the home-mail service for those things I want to watch that are not currently available for streaming instantly, and have made it a point to call their customer service and tell Netflix I am VERY satisfied with their top-notch company. If I had to really strain and try to find anything at all I would improve, it would be, I suppose, that I wish they had a bit more of their stuff as instant-watch. They have quite a bit, but a little more would not hurt. Still, the by-mail service is a bargain price to supplement streaming. I believe I will stay with this company for a long, long time!

    (Amazon is good for buying books and for Kindle as well, though, as I am an avid reader, and despite some hefty shipping fees at times, books themselves can often be dirt-cheap on some titles, so I use them for that).

    • I’m convinced you work for Netflix.
      I skip past your name every time I see it.

  7. Oh for goodness sake. I DON’T CARE ABOUT TRUE BLOOD OF THE WIRE. I WANT GAME OF THRONES. I WANT GAME OF THRONES. I WANT GAME OF FREAKING THRONES.

    • True Blood is junk, but don’t go knocking The Wire.

      • Oh, no. I believe it’s very good, I just don’t personally care about watching it. I only care about watching GAME OF THRONES. THAT IS ALL I WANT. IT’S ALL I’VE EVER WANTED.

  8. I am not very familiar with hbo’s programming in general, but seem to remember that they did “Band of Brothers, ” no? That was increfibly well made, so I will have to check some of these out.

    This is certsinly just about the only way I was ever going to watch any of these. Cable/paytv is too bloody expensive snd always has been.

  9. Can I get a freakin HBOGO app for my TV first?

  10. Very cool! HBO comedy specials and the Wire…finally I can see the Wire. Just like Netflix brought Breaking Bad into my life, Amazon will bring the Wire.

    I hope Silicon Valley shows up at some point. I want to watch that show, but I don’t want to get a cable TV subscription and order a premium channel to see it.

    And thanks for the CNN link about Aereo. I do not understand why the broadcast TV networks don’t just have their own streaming feeds. Hopefully, this lawsuit pans out for the viewer and the consumer is allowed to have different ways to view broadcast television programing through companies like Aereo. Until then, I’ll stick with Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon, and the WWE network (which paying for all of those is still cheaper than paying for cable service).