HBO Max Returning to Popular Streaming Platform in Huge Move

HBO Max is keeping the streaming world on its toes, as its new agreement with Amazon indicates. According to a report by Deadline, HBO Max will soon be available as an add-on to Amazon's Prime Video Channels, despite the previous disagreement over HBO, HBO Go and HBO Now. This move presumably relates to Warner Bros.'s merger with Discovery and its ongoing shift to a shared streaming home.

WarnerMedia launched HBO Max in 2020, years before merging with Discovery, and at the time it sought to become an independent streaming powerhouse. However, with the established brand of HBO and the familiar outlets for hosting it already in place, some major changes needed to be enforced – including the dissolution of HBO as a "channel" available through Prime Video. Amazon fought this change and executives exchanged harsh words in the press, ultimately delaying the availability of HBO Max on Amazon Fire TV sticks for months.

Just two years later, it looks like that power struggle was for nothing. HBO Max will now be available through Amazon Prime Video Channels at the same price tag as the stand-alone service – $14.99 per month. That will allow users to watch it with the Amazon video player if they prefer, and it will reportedly open up the service for potential growth in subscribers.

Sources familiar with this deal claimed that it would be valid for five years, though Warner Bros. Discovery and Amazon did not specify how long the contract would go on. This is surprising since the newly-merged company has expressed hopes of completely merging HBO Max with Discovery+ in the spring of 2023. Discovery+ has always been available through Prime Video Channels.

The crux of the struggle between Warner Bros. and Amazon in 2020 was reportedly customer data. As a "Channel," HBO Max would need to share all of its customer data with Amazon and it could even harbor doubts about whether Amazon reported everything accurately. Then-CEO Jason Kilar argued that this was not truly a direct-to-consumer business model as the streaming age promised.

Still, leaving Channels at the time reportedly cost HBO Max about 5 million subscribers. There's no telling what kind of growth the service can expect with this reintegration, nor what kind of insights it will need to surrender. HBO Max is available as a Prime Video Channel now for $14.99 per month.