No 'Game of Thrones,' But Other HBO Programming Headed To Amazon Prime Instant Video

 @ericbrownzzz on April 23 2014 3:39 PM
Amazon Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Reuters

Don’t throw away your friends’ HBO GO passwords just yet, but watching HBO shows is about to get a lot easier now that Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has signed a multiyear deal to add several of the premium cable network’s original series to its Instant Video service. Big hits like “Game of Thrones” and “Sex and the City,” however, aren’t included in the deal.

On Wednesday, Amazon announced it signed an exclusive, multiyear deal to distribute select HBO programming through Instant Video, available through Amazon Prime. This deal effectively makes Amazon the only content provider online offering HBO shows for streaming aside from HBO’s own HBO GO service. Amazon Prime members can expect to see HBO programming on their Instant Video service beginning May 21, and owners of the FireTV box set can expect a dedicated HBO GO app around the same time, though users will still need an HBO subscription to use the app.

Though full terms of the deal have not been announced, Variety reports that a substantial amount of HBO’s programming will be available on Amazon. That includes classics like “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Deadwood” and “Eastbound and Down.” The HBO miniseries “Angels in America,” “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific” will also be available for Amazon Prime customers May 21, along with several of the network’s original movies, documentaries and standup-comedy specials.

Anyone wanting to catch up on currently airing HBO shows will have to keep paying for HBO, which is owned by Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX). Older seasons of currently running shows like “Girls,” “Veep” and “The Newsroom” will only be available on Amazon Instant Video three years after they air on HBO. Considering that all three shows are currently on Season 3, the first season of each should be available on Amazon Instant Video within a year.

Unfortunately for the millions of people pirating HBO’s most popular show, however, “Game of Thrones” was not announced as a part of the Amazon deal. Anyone without HBO looking to catch up on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy drama will still have to stick to purchasing the DVDs (available on Amazon) or finding a friend nice enough to loan them an HBO GO password. Other popular shows, like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Entourage” and “Sex and the City,” will also be absent from Amazon due to syndication deals with other carriers.

A source close to the deal told BuzzFeed that HBO did not set their content up for auction and that only Amazon made an offer. Though the deal makes sense for both parties, Amazon will likely benefit the most.

Recently, Amazon announced it would raise its Amazon Prime subscription fee from $79 to $99, and the HBO deal will likely satisfy customers who they are getting something in return for the price hike.

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