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HBO Max strikes more distribution deals in advance of launch

[NEW YORK] AT&T signed deals with more pay-TV providers to distribute the upcoming HBO Max streaming service, though the telecom giant has yet to reach agreements with Comcast and Roku, two of the industry's biggest players.

AT&T's WarnerMedia said Wednesday it signed deals with cable companies such as Cox Communications and Altice USA, as well Verizon Communications and a consortium of smaller cable and internet providers.

They join Charter Communications, Apple, Google and others who will all be making make the app available. AT&T is also marketing the product to its own customers, including mobile-phone users and subscribers to its pay-TV services, like DirecTV.

The deals mean that people who already get the traditional HBO cable channel and the streaming service HBO Now through their pay-TV providers will have access to the new HBO Max at no extra cost. And people who don't currently get HBO can buy a subscription directly from those providers or AT&T. Such deals are crucial to the streaming service, which is seeking to reach a larger audience of potential viewers.

Users of Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One will be able to get the app on their gaming consoles, as will owners of select TVs from Samsung Electronics.

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At an investor conference this month, incoming AT&T chief executive officer John Stankey said HBO Max was unlikely to strike a deal to distribute its app on Amazon Fire TV streaming devices. "It looks like we may not be in the Amazon Fire app store when all of this is said and done," Mr Stankey said.

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