Look out, world -- we might finally be moving beyond cable TV after all. For years now, HBO
has outright refused to offer up its older programming for streaming. If you wanted to re-watch 'The Wire,' you had to go buy the DVD set. No more. Amazon has reportedly spent around $300 million for a three-year deal that'll have HBO series like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Big Love, Eastbound & Down, Oz, Band of Brothers and Deadwood, as well as early seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood, available to Amazon Prime subscribers.
This is arguably the largest, most important deal that the Prime Instant Video
product has landed, particularly given HBO's current rise to fame in the segment of buyers interested in streaming. It's also an exclusive deal, so don't expect Netflix to follow suit.
Previous seasons of other HBO shows, such as Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will become available over the course of the multi-year agreement, but smash hits such as Game of Thrones aren't mentioned; it's likely that HBO will keep some of those to itself, forcing those who'd like to watch in real-time to sign up for HBO through a pay-TV subscription.
The first wave of content will arrive on Prime Instant Video May 21, and yes, it's the first time that HBO programming has been licensed to an online-only subscription streaming service. Those with HBO Go access will still find all of this material there as well, and notably, the HBO Go app will come to Amazon's Fire TV by the year's end. (Even there, though, you'll need a genuine HBO subscription to make use of the HBO Go app, as the new material accessible via HBO Go and this older material accessible via Prime is different.)
It's great to see HBO finally cave to reality and enter the streaming universe outside of HBO Go. Let's just hope this is only the start.