After negotiations with Amazon fell through, HBO Max content stopped being available through Prime Video Channels back in September 2021. However, now that HBO Max’s parent company is under new leadership following the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, the streaming platform’s content has returned to Amazon Prime. As for why the sudden reversal is happening, it’s pretty simple. HBO Max left a sizable amount of subscribers on the table in its aggressive pursuit to become one of the top streaming platforms on the market.
The sticking point: WarnerMedia, then owned by AT&T, wanted more control of the direct-to-consumer relationships — including the ability to collect data for targeted advertising — than Amazon was willing to cede. About 5 million HBO/HBO Max customers had subscribed through Prime Video Channels, and the end of that deal took a bite out of HBO Max’s subscriber base.
With Discover CEO David Zaslav now at the helm, Warner Bros. Discovery is drastically rethinking its streaming strategy. The newly-merged media conglomerate is now more interested in spending on theatrical releases, and it’s entirely open to licensing out its deep bench of IP to other streamers.
In short, HBO Max — which will later combine with Discovery+ for a new, all-consuming streaming platform — is less concerned with trying to dominate the competition and more concerned with being a profitable business model that leverages Warner Bros. massive library. It’s in their interest to hop back onboard with Amazon, and so be it.