It was a rocky start for HBO Max, the latest entrant into the so-called streaming wars, on Wednesday. Parent company AT&T’s (T) WarnerMedia unit was unable to reach a deal with Amazon (AMZN ) and Roku (ROKU) to make HBO Max available on their hardware; thus, it was noticeably absent from the nation’s two largest streaming players, which between them control 70% of the U.S. streaming-media player market.
WarnerMedia would like Amazon to merely pass through subscribers to the HBO Max platform, much as it does with Netflix (NFLX) and Disney+ (DIS) customers. This would make it easier for AT&T to track viewing habits and other data about its customers. Amazon, on the other hand, would like to house the HBO Max content on Prime Videos Channels, as it currently does with HBO.
A spokesman for AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit said the company was looking forward “to reaching agreements with the few outstanding distribution partners left, including with Amazon and on par with how they provide customers access to Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu on Fire devices.”
The dispute with Roku centers around revenue sharing and advertising rights. Roku typically takes a cut of a service’s subscription fees and gets to sell ads in return for distribution. “As the No. 1 streaming platform in the U.S., we believe that HBO Max would benefit greatly from the scale and content marketing capabilities available with distribution on our platform. Unfortunately we haven’t reached agreement yet with HBO Max,” Roku said in a statement on Wednesday.