(Bloomberg) -- Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. will once again sell HBO Max through Amazon Prime in a bid to bring millions of new subscribers to its flagship streaming service.
Amazon.com Inc. customers will be able to sign up for HBO Max through the retailer’s store for online video channels and watch its programs within Amazon’s main streaming service. The deal also covers Warner Bros. Discovery’s new streaming service that will combine HBO Max with Discovery’s other assets.
Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav is reversing a move by the previous leaders of HBO Max, as Bloomberg News previously reported he was considering. HBO Max was available through Amazon for long enough to sign up about 5 million customers. But WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar yanked it from the service in September 2021 because he wanted HBO Max to have more control over the user interface and billing.
Bringing back those 5 million subscribers may result in as much as $600 million in annual revenue for Warner Bros. Discovery, Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Geetha Ranganathan said.
While streaming services such as Paramount+ and Starz have signed up millions of customers through Amazon, the largest streaming services, such as Netflix and Disney+, have eschewed doing so. When Amazon sells the channel, it collects some of the revenue and controls the relationship with customers.
Warner Bros. Discovery is cutting costs and looking for ways to boost revenue in order to pay down its billions of dollars in debt. The company had 94.9 million total streaming subscribers as of the end of September and plans to introduce a new streaming service in the first half of next year.
“Warner Bros. Discovery is committed to making HBO Max available to as broad an audience as possible while also advancing our data-driven approach to understanding our customers and best serving their viewing interests,” Bruce Campbell, chief revenue and strategy officer at Warner Bros. Discovery, said in a statement.
Shares of Warner Bros. Discovery rose 1.6% to $11.33 at 9:30 a.m. in New York.
(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph and adds share trading.)
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