Amazon and HBO have signed an extensive, multi-year agreement that will bring many of the premium channel's greatest shows including The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and The Wire to Amazon Prime Instant Video. The deal also includes "early" seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood. Newer shows like Girls, The Newsroom and Veep will eventually be made available to Prime subscribers, but not until three years after they've first aired on HBO. And other hits like Game of Thrones aren't even mentioned as part of the deal, so HBO may be holding at least some popular content away from Amazon's on-demand streaming.
The first wave of HBO content is due to arrive on May 21st. In addition to regular shows, Prime subscribers will also gain access to miniseries classics like Band of Brothers, select original movies including Game Change, HBO documentaries, and comedy specials from the likes of Louis CK, Ellen DeGeneres, and Lewis Black.
HBO's greatest hits are coming to Prime Instant Video next month
The new pact represents a significant shift for HBO, which has until now stuck close to cable companies and resisted streaming services like Netflix. It's a major win for Amazon any way you see it in the cutthroat atmosphere around licensing deals and exclusives. Financial terms aren't being disclosed, but Amazon likely paid a big price for HBO's famous catalog. Still, since Prime is a bit more expensive now, the company can afford to make investments like this one in hopes of keeping customers locked in for years to come.
Alongside the deal, Amazon and HBO have also announced that HBO Go is coming to the newly released Fire TV set-top box. Unfortunately, you'll be waiting some time for that. The companies are aiming to launch HBO Go by the end of 2014.
Update: The article has been updated to include additional content that's part of the deal between HBO and Amazon.