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HBO Leaves Amazon Prime as WarnerMedia Takes Subscriber Hit

Amazon is canceling HBO subscriptions on Sept. 15 after the WarnerMedia company leaves its channels service, which allows Prime users to subscribe to streaming services via Amazon.

The Hollywood Reporter
SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 4:00AM

HBO will lose some 5 million of its subscribers through Amazon Prime Video’s channels platform on Wednesday.

In messages sent to subscribers earlier this month, Amazon said HBO subscriptions would be canceled Sept. 15, with users getting a prorated refund based on their last billing cycle. HBO is expected to provide a special offer for Amazon subscribers after their subscriptions are canceled, a WarnerMedia executive with knowledge of the matter told The Hollywood Reporter.

Previously, Prime users were able to individually subscribe to HBO via the channels platform for $15 a month. But in late 2020, WarnerMedia and Amazon reached an agreement to remove HBO from Amazon Channels this year, as WarnerMedia wanted HBO Max to become the primary entry point for subscribers engaging with its streaming content. Instead, HBO Max became available as a stand-alone app on Amazon Fire TV devices, and existing viewers who purchased HBO subscriptions through the channels platform were given access to HBO Max for no additional cost.

Speaking with Bloomberg in August, HBO Max chief Andy Forssell said HBO was willing to lose subscribers in the short term if it meant cutting out the middleman — in this case, Amazon — and having a direct relationship with consumers instead. (HBO has also done the same with Roku and Apple TV.)

“It’s important for us to own the customer,” Forssell said. “If the viewer is in the app, we can tailor the home page to them. We can tailor what they show them next. We can respond to that in real time.”

As for users on Amazon, the tech giant is offering $0.99 per month promotional subscriptions — for up to two months — to Paramount+, Starz and Showtime through Sept. 17. Amazon Fire TV users should not experience any disruptions to their HBO Max subscriptions, but those without a Fire TV device will need to go separately through HBO Max to set up a new subscription.

HBO Leaves Amazon Prime as WarnerMedia Takes Subscriber Hit – The Hollywood Reporter
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