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Summary:

Here’s a first: Several HBO series, including The Sopranos and The Wire, will begin appearing on Amazon Prime Instant Video starting May 21. Amazon is also planning to add HBO Go to the new Fire TV by the end of 2014.

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Amazon now has streaming rights to a number of HBO series and will make them available through Prime Instant Video starting May 21, the company said Wednesday.

In addition, Amazon said that it will add HBO Go to its recently launched streaming video box, Fire TV — “targeting a launch by year-end,” though it sounds as if it could happen later.

This is the first time that HBO has included its shows in an outside subscription streaming service — HBO content has never been available for streaming on Netflix. Prime Instant Video’s selection won’t be comparable to the content available through HBO Go, though, and new episodes aren’t included. Here’s what Prime members will get beginning May 21, per the release:

  • All seasons of revered classics such as The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, and of recent favorites such as Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords
  • Epic miniseries, including Angels in America, Band of Brothers, John Adams, The Pacific and Parade’s End
  • Select seasons of current series such as Boardwalk Empire, Treme and True Blood
  • Hit original movies like Game Change, Too Big To Fail and You Don’t Know Jack
  • Pedigreed documentaries including the Autopsy and Iceman series, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib and When the Levees Broke
  • Hilarious original comedy specials from Lewis Black, Ellen DeGeneres, Louis CK and Bill Maher

Some of HBO’s newer shows will also be available, with a substantial delay: “Previous seasons of other HBO shows, such as Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will become available over the course of the multi-year agreement, approximately three years after airing on HBO.” Note that there’s no mention of Game of Thrones, or Sex and the City for that matter.

“Amazon has built a wonderful service—we are excited to have our programming made available to their vast customer base and believe the exposure will create new HBO subscribers,” Charles Schreger, HBO president of programming sales, said in a statement.

Prime Instant Video is available to Amazon Prime members, who pay $99 per year for unlimited two-day shipping, streaming video and access to some ebooks. The company recently raised the price of Prime from $79, citing increased transportation and fuel costs, and said it would continue to build up its library of streaming TV and movies. Amazon will report its Q1 2014 earnings on Thursday.

  1. It doesn’t appear to be part of the deal, but I would definitely be willing to pay per episode on Amazon for current seasons of HBO shows. It would still be far cheaper than paying for cable TV and then paying for HBO on top of that.

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  2. If you can’t watch current TV shows,the deal seem pointless.

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  3. Comcast, the largest cable/ISP provider, does not support HBOGO so the fact that Amazon Prime will support it is irrelevant to millions, myself included. Roku already has an HBOGO channel.

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  4. Unhappy with Amazon getting exclusive rights whilst they refuse to support android devices for playback.

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  5. This is awesome. Even old HBO series cost quite a bit on DVD or digital download. It’s not current stuff, but adding back catalog stuff just makes Amazon come more toe-to-toe with Netflix.

    I do wish they had an Android app.

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  6. This just really makes me question HBO’s judgment. They seem to be settling for 30 million domestic when they should be shooting for 60 to 90 million like Netflix. They have all the cards they need to win and yet they refuse to play them correctly.

    What is HBO’s biggest advantage over rival companies? A huge library of exclusive premium content that costs nothing to maintain. This move signals they are more interested in incremental revenue instead of increasing subscriber numbers. The fact that Amazon was willing to pay a lot for this content shows that HBO is leaving untapped demand on the table by refusing to offer an easy Netflix style $15 online only option. Instead of chasing ever higher subscriber numbers and becoming one of the few major streaming services likely to survive the coming content aggregation crunch, HBO is chasing quarterly profits. It’s sad to watch.

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