Hitting its anticipated launch date, Amazon announced Wednesday that it has begun to offer access to an initial batch of HBO shows via its Prime Instant Video service, a move that comes about a month after Amazon and HBO announced their exclusive licensing deal.
Early on, Amazon Prime members have have access to all seasons of older HBO originals, including The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome, and Six Feet Under, as well as newer series such as Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords. Prime also features “select seasons” of current series such as True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, and Treme, and to several HBO miniseries, including The Pacific, John Adams, Parade’s End and Angels in America.
This portion of the deal also covers original movies such as Mary and Martha, Temple Grandin, and You Don’t Know Jack, and comedy specials from Louis CK, Ellen DeGeneres, Lewis Black and Bill Maher.
The release of those titles marks the first time HBO has exhibited its original series outside of its linear premium channels, it’s on demand services or its HBO GO TV Everywhere service. Under the deal, previous seasons of HBO shows, such as Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will also become available over the course of the multi-year agreement, approximately three years after airing on HBO.
The deal also sets the stage for HBO GO to become available on the recently launched Amazon Fire TV set-top sometime later this year.
HBO joins a list of other online-only, subscription-based exclusive content deals forged by Amazon as it amps up the competition with Netflix. Others include PBS’s Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, FX’s The Americans and Justified, as well as Orphan Black, Falling Skies, Hannibal, Grimm, and Suits, among others.
The HBO deal comes amid a recent decision by Amazon to raise the price of Amazon Prime for U.S. subscribers by $20 – from $79 to $99 per year. In addition to access to a large streaming library, Amazon Prime memberships also feature free two-day shipping from items purchased at Amazon.com.
In addition to the Fire TV, Amazon Prime Instant Prime is supported on several other devices, including the Kindle Fire HDX and Fire HD, iOS devices, Roku players, the Xbox, PlayStation and Wii consoles.