Why HBO Max's Boss Isn't Worried About Network Losing 5 Million Customers In Split With Amazon

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Anyone who pays even a little bit of attention to the television landscape will know that we've long since entered the period of time widely known as "the streaming wars." In just the past few years, TV viewers who enjoy having lots of options could have easily gone from only being interested in subscribing to the big three (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon), to feeling the need to at least try out over a handful of new, impressive options. One of those is certainly HBO Max, but now that HBO as a whole is faced with losing 5 million customers after splitting with Amazon, the streamer's boss isn't bothered, and we know why.

If you aren't an Amazon Prime subscriber, you might not know that, along with Amazon Prime Video already having loads of choices for TV and movie viewing, you can also add other streamers to the service via its channels program for an additional fee. But, after HBO Max landed on Amazon channels in November 2020, the streamer (and all other HBO channels) was removed by early August 2021. HBO had netted roughly 5 million subscribers through Amazon, meaning that those folks have now disappeared into the streaming ether.

In a talk with Bloomberg, Andy Forssell, who is HBO Max's general manager, revealed that he's not worried about the lost subscribers, and said:

It’s important for us to own the customer. If the viewer is in the app, we can tailor the home page to them. We can tailor what they show them next. We can respond to that in real time.

Early agreements with Amazon allowed new streamers an easy opportunity to gain customers, while also offering several benefits to those subscribers. You'd get a free trial period to try out the channel's options, and could also easily pay and access all of its content through a service you're already familiar with, without needing to worry about new passwords, screen names, or downloading additional apps. But, according to Forssell, those very benefits to the consumer were actually negatives to HBO and HBO Max.

Through Amazon, HBO Max couldn't have a direct relationship with its customers, as everything from billing to the basics of the user interface was controlled by the tech giant. So, even though pulling out of the channels game now means that several million customers are gone, Forssell is confident that the better way forward for HBO Max is to have direct access to their subscribers by having them use their app, and that makes a lot of sense.

Even if you had been watching the service through Amazon, at least you got a good while to try it out. I doubt that anyone who really loved what HBO Max has to offer wouldn't currently be considering using the app to continue.

Right now, Amazon still holds the right to let former HBO customers know how to continue to access the network's content, including that which was exclusive to HBO Max. But, it's unknown if the e-commerce site will provide any assist to help subscribers transition, seeing as how there's basically no motivation for those behind the company to help out.

Meanwhile, Andy Forssell also noted that leaving Amazon behind won't stop HBO from hitting its year end goal of over 70 million subscribers (it's currently at about 67.5 million worldwide), so you can't fault him for believing this was the best way for HBO Max to move into the future.

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.