Amazon, HBO ink deal

 

“The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Six Feet Under” and other critically acclaimed HBO shows will soon be available to stream through Amazon’s Prime service.

The licensing deal announced on Wednesday is the first time that HBO is handing over its content to an online-only subscription streaming service, and is sure to raise the stakes for content companies and online distributors.

ADVERTISEMENT
Initially, newer shows like “Girls” and “Veep” won’t be available to Amazon Prime subscribers, though those shows will migrate over to Amazon about three years after airing on HBO.

“Amazon has built a wonderful service — we are excited to have our programming made available to their vast customer base and believe the exposure will create new HBO subscribers,” HBO programming sales president Charles Schreger said in a statement.

The first wave of HBO shows will arrive on Amazon on May 21. 

In addition to the licensing deal, the companies also announced on Wednesday that HBO GO, HBO’s own streaming service for TV subscribers, will be available on Amazon’s new Fire TV box, which was unveiled earlier this month.    

Companies like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu have been cited as a major threat to existing cable companies, as viewers have increasingly been moving online to watch the shows they want.

In pitching their proposed $45 billion merger to lawmakers and regulators in recent weeks, executives from Comcast and Time Warner Cable have said that they need to get together to stand a chance against the new upstart content providers.