HBO Max, Roku Strike Distribution Deal Ahead of Wonder Woman 1984 Release
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HBO Max, Roku Strike Distribution Deal Ahead of Wonder Woman 1984 Release

By  |  December 16, 2020  |  Uncategorized  |  No Comments

After a months-long standoff, WarnerMedia and Roku have reached an agreement to bring streamer HBO Max to Roku devices beginning Dec. 17.

The move means existing HBO customers who have downloaded the HBO app on Roku devices will see the app auto-update to HBO Max. For those who do not already have HBO subscriptions, the streamer will be highlighted in the Roku Channel’s “New and Notable” and “Movies and TV” categories.

“HBO Max is an incredible product with an unparalleled content offering that puts the consumer at the center, and we’re thrilled that Roku users will be able to experience all the great stories HBO Max has to offer,” WarnerMedia chief revenue officer Tony Goncalves said in a statement. “We’re breaking new ground in the months ahead, and we can’t wait to work with our longtime partners at Roku to build on our past successes and bring HBO Max’s best-in-class quality entertainment to Roku’s large and highly engaged audience.”

The move will increase HBO Max’s footprint considerably at a critical time for the service, which is looking to win over customers by releasing the anticipated superhero film Wonder Woman 1984 in theaters and HBO Max on Dec. 25.

It also comes ahead of a year in which HBO Max has made a big, controversial bet on the streamer. The company made the entire Warner Bros. upcoming 2021 film slate available to stream on HBO Max for one month the same day those films premiere in theaters.

Roku has 46 million monthly active accounts, it told investors in its most recent quarterly earnings. And those figures are almost certainly poised to grow over the holiday season as streaming devices and new television sets are gifted and set up.

HBO Max, meanwhile, was approaching 12.6 million activations, AT&T CEO John Stankey said earlier this month.

WarnerMedia’s streamer had a bumpy start since debuting in May. Some of that was due to its lack of distribution arrangements, which meant consumers could not access the service on certain devices where they may get most of their at-home entertainment.

Those deals have become more critical as streamers look to scale up fast and win over consumers with their content offerings, but it’s easier said than done. Distributors like Roku and Amazon Fire TV gained leverage as the streaming landscape fractured and their own scales grew, Adweek previously reported. Disagreements and standoffs have become more common as companies disagree over things like ad inventory, data and subscription fees.

Slowly but surely, those deals are being done. Exactly one month ago, HBO Max reached a similar distribution deal with Roku rival Amazon Fire TV, which said it had more than 50 million monthly active users as of this month. NBCUniversal streamer Peacock, which has also been hung up in distribution disagreements, struck a deal with Roku in September but has not yet reached an agreement with Amazon Fire TV.

About the Author: Kelsey Sutton

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