Amazon Prime Scores HBO Programming (But Not Game Of Thrones)

Sorry Sansa, you'll have to keep subscribing to HBO if you want to watch Game of Thrones online... but you'll finally be able to catch up on True Blood.

Sorry Sansa, you’ll have to keep subscribing to HBO if you want to watch Game of Thrones online… but you’ll finally be able to catch up on True Blood.

For years, HBO has resisted making its library of original programming — shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, True Blood, Deadwood, etc. — available to online subscription services, choosing instead to limit that archive to either its own HBO Go service or to people willing to pay to rent or buy them individually. But today, Amazon announced that its Amazon Prime streaming video offerings will finally soon include unlimited streaming access to a variety of HBO programming (though not the one that’s the most sought-after right now).

According to Amazon, beginning on May 21, Prime subscribers will have access to:
• All seasons of: The Sopranos, The Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, Eastbound & Down, Enlightened, Flight of the Conchords and others.
• HBO miniseries, including Angels in America, Band of Brothers, John Adams, The Pacific and Parade’s End
• Select seasons of some series, including Boardwalk Empire, Treme and True Blood
• A selection of HBO original movies, documentaries, and comedy specials

The biggest omission from the list is, obviously, Game of Thrones, the highly rated (for premium cable) fantasy series currently in its fourth season, which recently set a record for the largest swarm of BitTorrent users accessing a single pirated file at the same time.

Today’s announcement is a big departure for HBO, which in 2010 brushed off the idea of making its content available to anyone other than its own subscribers or those willing to pay for discs or digital downloads.

It may also take some of the wind out of the sails of those that had hoped for a stand-alone HBO Go service that would be made available to the public without requiring an HBO subscription. Though, if the deal proves profitable to HBO, perhaps it will eventually begin putting more of its newer shows on Prime, effectively turning the Amazon service into a sort-of stand-alone HBO Go.

Speaking of HBO Go, owners of the new Amazon Fire TV streaming video box thingy will also gain access to HBO Go, though they will obviously still be required to have a subscription to HBO Go (or have a friend willing to share their password).

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  1. maximusmmivx says:

    This makes a LOT of sense. HBO’s bread and butter is its new programming, which it has to protect for its own sake and for the sake of its cable company overlords. On the other hand, the older content is much less valuable and less in demand. Sure, I’m enjoying going back and watching the Sopranos (which I missed out on when it originally aired) on HBO GO, but I certainly wouldn’t be keeping an HBO subscription just for that.

    Another major plus: it really, really hurts Netflix–a company that has basically positioned itself as HBO’s largest competitor. This is content that they will absolutely NEVER get, and it further differentiates Amazon Prime as a viable alternative.

    Amazon’s happy. HBO’s happy. Cable overlords are happy. Customers are happy. Netflix… not so much.

    • ResNullum says:

      Amazon already stuck it to Netflix when they beat them to the second half of Breaking Bad’s final season by six months. This is just the second serving.