According to an article in Variety, the HBO Max app will finally be landing on Fire TV products starting November 17. This is about six months after the service launched on AppleTV and other platforms. This is good news for AT&T, HBO’s parent company, and opens up the service to something like 40 million new subscribers.
What took so long?
That’s something regular folks probably will never know. But I’m sure it had something to do with some sort of payments between one party and another. Amazon is known for finding ways to get revenue out of every transaction. If I had to guess, I’d suppose they were trying to get a few pennies from AT&T as part of the subscription process. That’s what has held up other subscription services on other platforms.
And now it’s down to Roku
The last hurdle for HBO Max is getting its app on Roku devices. Roku’s newer devices were recently upgraded to allow Apple AirPlay. This means that customers with iPhones can cast HBO Max to their Roku devices. It’s not a perfect solution but it’s a step in the right direction.
Roku continues to be the market leader in standalone streaming boxes, with about 42 million customers. That’s a very big market to ignore, and there’s no doubt it has held HBO Max’s growth back. Of course we all hope that the service will come to Roku devices soon.
HBO Max could take over the world
Of all the current class of streaming services, only HBO Max really has the potential to make a dent in the existing hierarchy of streaming apps. Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video seem to have a ight lock on the subscription video on demand market, despite all this new competition. The first wave of competitors were simply standalone versions of premium channels like Showtime, Starz, and EPIX. (It’s worth noting that HBO Max’s predecessor, HBO NOW, was also in that group.) They didn’t really make much of a difference in the market. This new wave, including Disney+, CBS All Access, Peacock, and HBO Max, seek to combine older catalog content with new originals that you can’t find anywhere else.
Other competitors haven’t succeeded really
I’ve never been a fan of CBS All Access, although I admit I pay for it when Star Trek is airing. It’s clearly not meeting expectations as it’s being rebranded to Paramount+ with a whole new mission.
Disney+ launched with great fanfare a year ago. It’s probably done well for itself, especially since Disney’s other properties like theme parks, movies, and travel have tanked lately. But the public only seems to notice Disney+ when there’s a significant new release like The Mandalorian or Hamilton. It’s not daily viewing for anyone unless they have kids.
Peacock launched with a lot of fanfare but seems to have stumbled since then. Its original programming never caught the public’s attention, and almost all of its catalog programming can be found on Hulu, Prime Video, or other sources for now. I suspect they’ll have a rough time of it in the future.
The streaming landscape in ’21
As much as no one expected what would happen in 2020, 2021 is going to be equally hard to predict. I think that we all hope that we’ll spend less time at home, and that could impact subscriber numbers for all streaming services. Those services with strong original programming and great marketplace buzz will continue to do well, though. So, I have no worries about HBO Max. What do you think?