Sopranos, Band of Brothers, and other HBO originals are coming to Amazon Prime Instant Video
Color us impressed with Amazon's negotiating skills. HBO has kept a tight grip on its content and doesn't care to have its shows streamed outside of its HBO Go application, which is only available to HBO subscribers, but for the first time, that's about to change. Amazon today announced it inked a content licensing agreement with HBO that will make Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-only subscription home for select HBO programming.
Netflix's recent return to profits must have made CEO Reed Hastings a wee bit giddy; buried deep in the company's new earnings report was a paragraph that teased the possibility of a Netflix-HBO partnership. Will we someday be able to stream Game of Thrones? In a word: no. After the press circulated the speculation yesterday, HBO promptly released a statement squashing the rumor with extreme prejudice.
Netflix is in desperate need of positive PR, and that's exactly what the streaming service is getting after signing a multi-year deal with DreamWorks to receive exclusive access to first-run films and select TV shows. And according to a report in The New York Times, Netflix even edged out HBO to secure the deal, which ranks as the first time a major Hollywood studio shunned pay television in favor of Internet streaming. Ready for the wet blanket?
We know that a lot of you are mighty sore about the recent hike in Netflix rates, but according to sources, they’re putting that money to use. Netflix has reportedly worked out a deal with DreamWorks Animation to get the studio's films on the Internet company’s streaming service.
There's a rather interesting article in The Hollywood Reporter that takes an in depth look at Netflix and the impact its fast growing streaming service is having on the industry. One of the points the article touches on is the feasibility of going after content providers like HBO.
"HBO believes in content exclusivity, especially for high-value content," says Jeff Cusson, the channel’s senior VP of corporate affairs. "That’s our rationale for not selling streaming rights to a competing subscription service." HBO does license its shows to iTunes and Amazon, but indicated it has “no intention of making its content available for streaming on Netflix."
Citing a high-placed Time Warner executive, The Hollywood Reporter says Netflix would have to raise the price of its streaming-only service from $7.99 a month to $20 to make it worthwhile. Not so fast, says Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix.
"They make an incredibly great product that is very expensive to produce," Sarandos says. "But we're buyers and they're sellers, so we'll figure out a deal that makes sense. If we don't, then the service doesn't have everything, and that's OK too."
Some of what Netflix does pay for content rights may surprise you. Starz, one of the first to jump on board, inked a deal some analyst say is in the neighborhood of $30 million (that figures to increase to anywhere from $100 million to $300 million before the end of 2011), while it's believed Netflix is paying $150 million to $200 million for a year's worth of Disney content. You can see how it all starts to add up as Netflix adds more providers to the mix.
So here's the question: How much would you be willing to pay for a streaming subscription, and what would have to be included to justify that ceiling price?
Netflix announced last week a deal with Epix valued at $900 million to bring more premium content to their streaming service. While this is great news for users, don't expect any of the high-quality shows from Time Warner owned HBO to end up on Netflix anytime soon. HBO Co-President Eric Kessler recently explained, "There is value in exclusivity. Consumers “are willing to pay a premium for high quality, exclusive content.”
HBO has plans to launch a streaming service of thier own called HBO Go in the next six months. A Netflix spokesperson expressed their desire to work with HBO saying, "Compete with us or collaborate with us, but we would much rather work with them.” It seems HBO feels they can adequately compete with Netflix, having already secured content deals for their online service with Comcast and Verizon.
No word yet on how much HBO Go would charge, but it's probably going to be more than Netflix's rock-bottom $8.99 per month (the minimum account with full streaming access). How much would you pay to access HBO shows like True Blood and The Sopranos?
Tony Soprano, Bill Henrickson, Ali G, and other HBO personalities are now available in the U.S. on the PlayStation 3, as Sony has gone and inked a deal to offer HBO programming through the PlayStation Network (PSN), Sony announced this week.
"The HBO library of premium original content is a perfect example of how PS3 has become the most content rich entertainment platform in the living room," said Peter Dille, senior vice president, marketing and PlayStation Network, SCEA. "When you combine the iconic programming from HBO with the existing TV, film, live sports and original programming available on PlayStation Network, our customers have access to the content they want, when they want it, at home or on the go with the PSP."
Several titles are available on the HBO section of PSN, including True Blood (season one and two), Big Love (seasons one through three), Entourage (seasons one and two), Eastbound and Down (season one), and multiple seasons from HBO signature shows such as The Sorpranos, Sex and the City, The Wire, Rome, Da Ali G Show, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Flight of the Conchords.
Sony says it plans to add more seasons and shows on a weekly basis.