HBO is coming to Amazon Prime

Non-HBO subscribers will soon be able to watch some of the network’s old TV shows, like “The Sopranos” and “The Wire,” on Amazon Prime’s streaming video service. Amazon described the deal as a first for HBO, which has a reputation for being tightfisted with its library of hit shows — even ones that stopped airing years ago. The assortment of HBO shows will be a significant addition to Amazon Prime as it attempts to sign up more monthly subscribers and challenge Netflix. 

Reaction to Amazon’s content deal with HBO this morning was decisive: Neftlix just lost. Amazon gains three things from the deal: It sets itself apart from the streaming-video leader; gives customers a reason to continue paying $99 for its Prime program; and maybe provides additional incentive to buy its devices. Up until now, Netflix has enjoyed having a much deeper catalog of desirable content, but one deal alone turns the tables. “We believe that Netflix has enjoyed an advantage in content selection,” said Stephen Shin, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, according to The WSJ. “Today’s news is a clear sign that Amazon is intent on closing the content gap with Netflix, which validates Netflix’s recent decision to raise prices to fund more content acquisition.”

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