Roku and WarnerMedia have reached an agreement for the distribution of the HBO Max on the Roku platform — nearly seven months after the streaming service launched.
HBO Max will be live on Roku effective tomorrow, Thursday, Dec. 17, the companies announced. The deal now gives the streaming service coverage on all major over-the-top platforms. Its absence on Roku was a big hole: Roku counted 46 million active user accounts as of the end of September.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both sides claimed they were pleased with finally resolving their differences.
WarnerMedia was looking to nail down a pact with Roku as the last major distribution platform for HBO Max ahead of the day-and-date premiere of “Wonder Woman 1984” starring Gal Gadot on the service and in theaters on Dec. 25. Meanwhile, as previously announced, all films in Warner Bros.’s 2021 slate will debut on HBO Max in the U.S. concurrently with its theatrical release and will be available to stream exclusively for one month.
Under the deal, Roku users who have already subscribed to HBO through Roku will have the existing HBO app on their devices automatically updated to become the HBO Max app, and they will be able to log in using their existing HBO credentials. It appears that Roku will no longer sell HBO as a channel subscription in the Roku Channel store.
“We believe that all entertainment will be streamed and we are thrilled to partner with HBO Max to bring their incredible library of iconic entertainment brands and blockbuster slate of direct to streaming theatrical releases to the Roku households with more than 100 million people that have made Roku the No. 1 TV streaming platform in America,” Scott Rosenberg, SVP of Roku’s platform business, said in a statement.
Rosenberg added, “Reaching mutually beneficial agreements where Roku grows together with our partners is how we deliver an exceptional user experience at an incredible value for consumers and we are excited by the opportunity to deepen our longstanding relationship with the team at WarnerMedia.”
Tony Goncalves, chief revenue officer at WarnerMedia, said in a statement, “We’re breaking new ground in the months ahead, and we can’t wait to work with our longtime partners at Roku to build on our past successes and bring HBO Max’s best-in-class quality entertainment to Roku’s large and highly engaged audience.”
News of the deal between WarnerMedia and Roku comes a day after Comcast announced the rollout of the streaming app on Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex and after HBO Max launched on PlayStation 5. Amazon clinched a deal in November to carry HBO Max on Fire TV and Fire Tablet devices, after holding out for several months.
Roku and WarnerMedia had been haggling over terms of the distribution deal. Roku wanted to continue to have the ability to sell HBO subscriptions through the Roku Channel store, while WarnerMedia was insisting on distributing HBO Max as a separate app. The two parties also were trying to come to an agreement over what ad inventory would be split with Roku for the ad-supported, reduced-price version of HBO Max slated to come out in late 2021.
HBO Max, which carries a regular subscription price of $14.99 per month, touts 10,000 hours of curated premium content, including TV shows and movies from HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, and Turner Classic Movies.
In addition to the release of “Wonder Woman 1984,” HBO Max this month will feature exclusive holiday special “My Gift: A Christmas Special” from Carrie Underwood, a new “Euphoria” special episode starring Zendaya, Steven Soderbergh’s comedy film “Let Them All Talk,” and four-part docuseries “Heaven’s Gate: The Cult of Cults.”
In January, HBO Max programming highlights include the second “Euphoria” special episode; “Search Party” Season 4; a new season of “Selena + Chef,” the entire “Gossip Girl” library, Season 1 of “Snowpiercer,” “The Alienist: Angel of Darkness” and “King of Staten Island.”
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