Dec 16, 2020 - Economy & Business

Roku and AT&T reach agreement to distribute HBO Max

Photo Illustration: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

After a months-long battle, Roku and AT&T have finally reached an agreement to distribute AT&T's streaming service HBO Max.

Why it matters: Until now, Roku was the only TV platform that did not carry HBO Max. AT&T struck a deal to distribute HBO's on-demand subscription video service on Amazon Fire devices and Prime Video channels in November.

Details: Starting December 17 Roku users will be able to download HBO Max from the Roku channel store and subscribe directly on their Roku devices to access HBO Max's catalog.

  • Sources tell Axios that the two parties had been in touch daily for months to finalize an agreement.
  • The deal comes ahead of Warner Bros. highly anticipated release of "Wonder Woman 1984" on HBO Max Dec 25.

What they're saying: “We believe that all entertainment will be streamed and we are thrilled to partner with HBO Max to bring their incredible library of iconic entertainment brands and blockbuster slate of direct-to-streaming theatrical releases to the Roku households with more than 100 million people that have made Roku the No. 1 TV streaming platform in America,” said Scott Rosenberg, Roku's senior vice president for the platform business.

  • “Reaching mutually beneficial agreements where Roku grows together with our partners is how we deliver an exceptional user experience at an incredible value for consumers and we are excited by the opportunity to deepen our longstanding relationship with the team at WarnerMedia.”

Between the lines: AT&T had been publicly pressuring Amazon and Roku on this issue for months in earnings calls and at public events.

The big picture: Spats between TV distributors and networks that grew out of the cable and satellite era are beginning to spill over into the streaming world. Other streamers and providers, like AT&T and Amazon, have also had carriage disagreements.

Go deeper: TV battles spill into streaming

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