Warner Bros. has signed a major deal with arch streaming rival Amazon Prime Video to distribute HBO content in France.
Starting in March, a new service dubbed Warner Pass in France will enable Prime Video users to access all HBO shows and 12 WBD channels, including Discovery Channel, Warner TV, Eurosport, Cartoon Network and CNN.
It appears that the pass will be available to Prime Video users by separate subscription. A price has not yet revealed.
To promote the pass before its debut, all Prime Video subscribers in France will be able to watch “The Last of Us,” HBO’s much-anticipated TV adaptation of Naughty Dog’s video game series, starting Jan. 16. Episodes will be made available a day after they debut in the U.S.
Earlier this month, WBD struck a deal with Paramount/Comcast streaming service SkyShowtime to distribute 21 HBO Max Europe originals.
Last year, as part of WBD’s push to slash costs to reduce debt, HBO Max ceased commissioning original local content production in Central Europe, the Nordics and the Netherlands, leaving some scripted original series without a distribution deal. SkyShowtime, now in 12 markets not served by Paramount+ and Comcast’s Peacock, has picked up several of those shows.
The Warner Pass deal will not affect WBD’s introducing its soon-to-come merged version of HBO Max and Discovery+ in the French market, according to TechRadar.
However, in the UK, where Sky has had rights for HBO content since 2014 and has co-produced some originals with HBO, HBO Max -- and presumably the merged HBO Max/Discovery+ service -- probably cannot be launched unless the companies decide not to renew their agreement when it expires in 2024, which is considered unlikely, TechRadar reports.
WBD has deals similar to the UK one for HBO content distribution via separate platforms in regions including Australia (with Foxtel), sub-Saharan Africa (Showmax) and Canada (Crave). But in many other regions, HBO content is available directly through WBD’s main platform.