As noted by Vulture, a label was recently added to several classic HBO shows on the Amazon Prime Video homepage, noting that they would be removed from the service on May 21st.
Update: However, a representative for Amazon has informed The Verge that the labels were added erroneously and the shows will not be leaving. HBO’s streaming deal with Amazon has not expired and the labels will be removed soon, the rep confirmed.
This explains why the application of the label was initially so confusing and why the shows that appeared to be included in the cut didn’t have that much in common. For example, the first two seasons of Girls (the only ones available on Prime), were listed as leaving the service, but the first two seasons of Veep were not. Classics like The Sopranos, The Wire, and Big Love all had the “leaving” label on their first season but not subsequent seasons.
Amazon’s deal with HBO was announced almost exactly three years ago, a year before the launch of HBO’s cord-cutter service HBO Now and long before the addition of subscription-based Amazon Channels (which include HBO, Showtime, Starz, and Sundance Now, among others). The deal didn’t include the highest profile HBO programming like Game of Thrones or True Detective, and never added new seasons of popular shows like Veep and Girls. Shows that premiered after the debut of HBO Now and Amazon Channels were also never added to Prime Video — including hits like Westworld, The Night Of, and Insecure.
While HBO was, at the time, mostly dedicated to its place in premium cable packages, it has now embraced the age of cord-cutting and à la carte TV.
So, just to be clear, you can still watch most HBO shows on HBO Go, HBO Now, HBO’s Amazon Channel, Amazon Prime, or as part of your cable package.
Updated April 25th, 2017 10:17 AM ET: Updated to include information from Amazon, stating that the “leaving” labels were added in error.