Amazon Prime starts streaming exclusive HBO content
Michelle Clancy
| 22 May 2014 has made available the first wave of HBO programming on Prime Instant Video, in a kick-off to a big change in strategy for the premium cable net. Prime members in the US now have access to a collection of popular HBO shows, including classics and recent hits, original films, comedy specials and miniseries.

Prime Instant Video is the exclusive online-only subscription streaming home for HBO, and users can access the content for no additional charge. In the typical distribution model, HBO relies on its pay-TV partners to upsell their subscribers to the network for anywhere between $15 to $25 per month, depending on the provider and the area. The deal also somewhat mitigates the value-add of HBO GO, the channel's TV Everywhere application that offers all HBO content for on-demand streaming. HBO GO will actually become available on Amazon Fire TV later this year.

Cannibalising or not, Amazon is making available full libraries for the Sopranos, the Wire, Deadwood, Rome and Six Feet Under, as well as Eastbound & Down, Enlightened and Flight of the Conchords. It also has select seasons of True Blood, Boardwalk Empire and Treme.

On the movie front, miniseries include Band of Brothers, the Pacific, John Adams, Parade's End and Angels in America; and original movie titles include Mary and Martha, Temple Grandin and You Don't Know Jack.

Rounding out the offerings are comedy specials from Louis CK, Ellen DeGeneres, Lewis Black and Bill Maher, and documentaries like When the Levees Broke, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, and the Autopsy and Iceman series

"We're thrilled to deliver this collection of groundbreaking, beloved content from HBO to Amazon Prime members for unlimited streaming at no additional cost," said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon. "Given the number of customers who purchase these titles from Amazon, we know how much customers love these shows. We are excited to bring them to Prime members we think they are going to love them, whether they are experiencing them for the first time or re-discovering them from the beginning."

Amazon's exclusive licensing agreement with HBO will continue to add more shows to Prime Instant Video in coming years, bringing new seasons of current series as well as early seasons of other current shows like Girls, The Newsroom and Veep to Prime members over the life of the deal.