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HBO Max Deal Finally Brings the Service to Roku Devices

HBO Max Deal Finally Brings the Service to Roku Devices

AT&T’s struggling streaming service is finally available on Roku devices starting tomorrow, December 17th, after months of negotiations.

AT&T’s struggling streaming service is finally available on Roku devices starting tomorrow, December 17th, after months of negotiations.

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HBO Max has had a rough year. After failing to gain much traction at its announcement, to its unavailability on Fire and Roku devices, it’s been rough. Add in a $15 price tag and a confusion layout of past and present streaming services, no good originals, and a confusing audience appeal, and then you can see why it might have flopped pretty hard already.

Slowly, the service has improved through the addition of more original content, and then the service’s addition on multiple new platforms, including the new gaming consoles, (which you can read about here) and Fire devices. HBO Max also announced new deals, including some longer bundled times with up to 20% discounts, and a brand new initiative, placing all of their 2021 films onto the service, which you can also read about, here.

These changes have brought a slow, but steady increase to HBO Max’s lacking numbers. That slow increase is likely to change very quickly, as Roku and HBO Max announced on a rather cute Twitter thread, which can be found here.

Anyway, through the feed which started with the official Roku Twitter account asking for people’s one gifts, the two companies announced the deal, which will occur tomorrow.

For some more context, here’s the full conversation with Tweet interaction numbers:


RokuIf you could ask us for ONE gift, what would it be? | 388 likes

HBO Maxhmu @Roku I have thoughts | 2.1K likes

RokuShould we tell ’em? | 784 likes

HBO Max: HBO Max is coming to the Roku platform tomorrow. | 2.3K likes


The interesting part of this for me, is how much higher likes and interactions are on the HBO Max tweets. HBO Max has been at odds with the general streaming audience since its announcement, as explained above, so I was not expecting them to readily have higher numbers than Roku’s account, with much higher satisfaction and a bigger userbase.

The thing is, interest in HBO Max skyrocketed this month after their sudden announcement to put upcoming films, such as The Matrix 4, Dune, The Suicide Squad, and the new Space Jam film. These films helped bring HBO Max into the forefront, and with discounted months included, it was the perfect time for the company to announce its new deal with Roku.

The number of people interested in HBO Max was higher due to the incredible movie power of the WarnerMedia studio, which helped bring some new eyes to the streaming platform. All of these films will be available to HBO Max subscribers, free of charge, for one month, with Wonder Woman 1984 landing on HBO Max on Christmas Day, which is next week.

Roku’s Senior VP of Platform Business, Scott Rosenberg said

“We believe that all entertainment will be streamed and we are thrilled to partner with HBO Max to bring their incredible library of iconic entertainment brands and blockbuster slate of direct to streaming theatrical releases to the Roku households.”

Once the service actually arrives on Roku devices starting tomorrow, it’ll be instantaneously accessible through an HBO Max channel on said devices, just like any other Roku service. Customers with HBO already on their Rokus will have their app automatically upgraded to HBO Max, since HBO Max is the same price and a successor the service. 

With a 49% market share, and 46 million active accounts on Roku devices, it’s incredibly important for AT&T and WarnerMedia specifically to have HBO Max available, and used, by as many consumers as possible. Remember, the service hasn’t been available on Roku since its launch in May, and WarnerMedia only recently created an agreement with Amazon, the number 2 (3?) platform.

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While HBO Max has an impressive sounding 12 million subscribers already, with the feeling being enforced by dramatically enthusiastic executives, it’s really not that great. HBO has upwards of 100 million subscribers globally, and theoretically, all of them should have been migrated to HBO Max, as it is the free upgrade to every past HBO service.

Disney+ has an astonishing 87 million subscribers just over a year after launch, and Netflix has existed for a shorter time than HBO, but has over 195 million subscribers globally. Even just taking into account HBO’s 35 million domestic subscribers, 12.7 million subscribers for a new service with new content and a new audience, really isn’t that impressive.

Roku and WarnerMedia have been in a long-standing argument over financing, as WarnerMedia’s dedication to the old ways of content delivery have caused some issues with their hopeful providers.

For example, cable operators pay TV and film companies to show their films and shows. If these operators, like YouTube TV or AT&T U-Verse want a channel, they pay for it. Whenever arguments arrive, channels get taken down, and these are known as blackouts, where it can only be fixed when the two parties reach an agreement.

Hubs like Roku want to get paid to host apps, compared to the usual pay for apps. Essentially, Roku wants to be paid to store apps, compared to pay for content, and WarnerMedia doesn’t like that. The issue for WarnerMedia, is that they need Roku to reach tens of millions of possible customers, since getting new subscribers and paying a little to Roku is better than losing money from no subscribers.