Talks between Amazon and Warner Media over bringing the latter’s new streaming service HBO Max to the former’s Fire TV devices are still at a stalemate. The good news is that there’s still a placeholder while the two companies are still negotiating. Those who are subscribed to the HBO Now service will still be able to access the service on their Fire TV devices but it is now just branded as HBO. That still doesn’t solve the problem though on the problems the two companies are having over the distribution of HBO Max.
The deal to distribute HBO Now on Fire TV expires July 31 but this week, Amazon emailed their customers about the name change, according to Variety. This means you still get to watch the legacy HBO standalone service on your devices, even as the two try to work out their differences that will hopefully not make customers suffer in the long run. You can also watch HBO content on Amazon devices if you have an HBO subscription through Prime Video channels.
The main issue between the two companies is that Warner Media wants Amazon to put HBO Max as a standalone service similar to what Netflix, Hulu, Disney Plus, etc. Currently, HBO is a “channel” that is aggregated into the Amazon Prime Channels. Having a standalone app is better business for Warned Media of course as Fire TV has more than 40 million active users. They’re also having the same problems with Roku, which also boasts more than 40 million users as well.
This issue was even brought up in the U.S. House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing where they grilled the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos was asked if they are using their position as a “gatekeeper” to demand content from WarnerMedia but he said he is not familiar with the deals of the negotiation between the two companies.
Hopefully, the two will be able to work out a deal sometime soon. In things like these, usually it’s the consumer that is on the losing end if things are not settled, like what happened between Amazon and Google previously when Amazon users were unable to stream YouTube as a native app on their devices because of bickering between the two.