Apparently, up until recently you could watch a selection of top tier HBO content as part of your Amazon Prime subscription – beloved shows like Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Wire, The Sopranos, Entourage, True Blood, Veep and Sex and the City were available on the platform without any kind of subscription to HBO or one of its streaming services. But with the impending arrival of HBO Max, the very important Warner Media direct-to-consumer platform that begins on May 27th, all of those titles have been unceremoniously removed from Amazon Prime. C’est la vie.
The licensing agreement between HBO and Amazon Prime was announced back in 2014 and shows from the premium cable brand started showing up on the platform the following year. You can still get HBO content on your Amazon Prime account if you sign into your HBO Go/HBO Now account through Amazon (where it will then show up as one of your “channels”). But the days of getting to watch horny vampires rampage through Bon Temps for free are over.
Amazon will undoubtedly announce a splashy new agreement with another content provider soon, but this kind of territorial land grab for licenses and legacy content will become increasingly common as high-profile streaming services, tied to specific companies or brand identities, are introduced into the marketplace. Given the staggering amount of money Amazon has, they should be able to pull of something impressive.
This is definitely a loss for malnourished Amazon Prime subscribers, but the day one HBO Max line-up, as we’ve already illustrated, is pretty absurd, with a ton of worthwhile movies and television shows debuting at launch (and even more coming in June). Begun, the streaming wars have.