HBO has teamed up with Amazon Prime against Netflix to allow Prime members the ability to watch HBO classics like The Sopranos and Six Feet Under as well as some of the newer popular shows like True Blood. However, Amazon Prime members should not get too excited as their, nearly, $100 per year subscription fee will not include the new HBO show Game of Thrones or other favorites Sex in the City and Entourage.
Time Warner, who owns HBO, has pretty much always seen Netflix as a threat and have resolutely refused the company the rights to show even the oldest HBO programs. This new deal between the two streaming service providers is spread out over a number of years. Allowing newer programs to become available to Prime users roughly around three years after being initially aired on HBO.
Netflix have geared themselves up to compete in the arena of original programming and as a result, they have increased their membership fee. Amazon Prime have also hiked up their original price of $79 per year to $99. To be fair to Amazon, this is the first price rise since 2005 and they don’t just do movies and television programs any longer. They have branched out into other avenues of “entertainment” and there is a rumored Amazon smartphone on the horizon.
The actual details between the two companies, such as monetary recompense for the ability of Prime members to watch old HBO television shows and movies, have not been revealed. The fact that both HBO and Amazon have teamed up against Netflix, shows that Time Warner is not the only entertainment magnate worried by Netflix and their capture of potential customers.
Apparently, HBO Go, which is the streaming service available to HBO customers at present, will also be part of the Amazon Prime package. HBO Go will be available on Fire TV, which is Amazon’s version of the “Go” service around the end of 2014. While the deal between Amazon and HBO seems to be aimed at Netflix, the new service will allow Amazon to compete with Roku and Apple Inc as well. The Fire TV device goes for an additional $99 on top of the annual fee for Prime membership.
Netflix may not be too bothered by this new deal between its competitors. They have been very open about plans to focus on original television series, like the hugely popular Kevin Spacey remake House of Cards. Time Warner may still see Netflix as a threat but Amazon isn’t just competing against the one streaming company. Hulu also encroaches on the two companies in terms of streaming popular TV and movies, but this particular provider has not focused on original series as yet.
The news that HBO and Amazon have teamed up against Netflix with their new deal will make fans of The Sopranos and True Blood very happy. Sadly, Game of Thrones which looks likely to run on and on, such is its popularity, will have to be watched via HBO, or HBO Go. Since this particular series is one of the world’s most “pirated” shows the program may end up eventually becoming a part of the new deal on offer.
By Michael Smith