HBO Max and Roku finally reach a deal
New York (CNN Business) — Christmas came early for Roku users.
WarnerMedia reached a deal with Roku on Wednesday that brings HBO Max, the company’s nascent streaming service, to Roku devices starting on Thursday.
The deal is a significant one not just for Roku users who have waited for the service to be available since it launched over the summer, but also for WarnerMedia — CNN’s parent company.
Roku is the leader in the streaming-device marketplace with more than 100 million users. That user base is important to WarnerMedia, which is trying to drive new subscribers to HBO Max. The service has notched 12.6 million activations since it launched in May.
The service has been available on multiple other devices such as Apple TV and, as of last month, Amazon Fire TV. Yet Roku was a holdout.
The timing is also notable. HBO Max will debut the highly anticipated “Wonder Woman 1984” on the service Christmas Day. Making a deal with Roku was vital to ensure its massive user base had a chance to sign up in time for the blockbuster.
“We believe that all entertainment will be streamed and we are thrilled to partner with HBO Max to bring their incredible library of iconic entertainment brands and blockbuster slate of direct to streaming theatrical releases to the Roku households with more than 100 million people,” Scott Rosenberg, senior vice president of Roku’s platform business, said in a statement.
Having Roku as a distribution partner is also important to HBO Max as it heads into the new year.
WarnerMedia sent shockwaves through Hollywood earlier this month when it announced it would stream all of Warner Bros.’ 2021 movies on HBO Max at the same time they hit theaters. That includes films like “Matrix 4,” “Dune,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” “The Suicide Squad” and the film adaptation of “In The Heights,” among others.
“We’re breaking new ground in the months ahead, and we can’t wait to work with our longtime partners at Roku to build on our past successes and bring HBO Max’s best-in-class quality entertainment to Roku’s large and highly engaged audience,” said Tony Goncalves, WarnerMedia’s chief revenue officer.