hbo shows leaving amazon

Update: Amazon has informed The Verge that the labels were added erroneously and the HBO shows will not be leaving the streaming service. HBO’s streaming deal with Amazon has not expired. Our original story follows.

 

If you’re still in the middle of your The Sopranos binge on Amazon Prime, beware: it’s leaving the service in May.

While neither Amazon Prime nor HBO have made any announcements, Amazon Prime subscribers are seeing notices that many HBO titles are leaving Prime on May 21. But there are a few shows that will stay on Amazon after the big departure.

Three years to the day after Amazon Prime and HBO struck up a deal to offer Amazon Prime subscribers access to some of HBO’s greatest hits (excluding more recent popular fare like Game of Thrones and True Detective), the two companies won’t be extending the deal, prompting the sudden departure of shows like Six Feet Under, Flight of the Conchords, True Blood, The Wire, The Comeback, Deadwood, Eastbound and Down, Bored to Death, Enlightened, the first two seasons of Veep and Girls, and others. Some smaller HBO miniseries and movies already quietly departed months ago.

The deal, which was made in 2014, was originally designed to allow non-HBO subscribers to get a taste of the network’s greatest hits, possibly inspiring them to spring for a full subscription via their cable provider, according to Vulture.

Up until then, it was nearly impossible to get access to HBO shows unless you had a cable or satellite subscription — HBO was notoriously protective of its titles and “didn’t want to devalue its product” by cutting out cable companies. But that changed in 2014, when the then-unprecedented syndication deal was struck with Amazon’s streaming service and HBO, allowing Prime subscribers access to the network’s shows.

But six months after the deal, HBO launched HBO Now, its own streaming service that would give anyone with Internet access to current and old HBO titles. While the shows on Amazon Prime — which focused primarily on older titles — didn’t hurt the success of HBO Now, it made the deal redundant.

Additionally, Amazon started letting networks like HBO and Showtime sell digital subscriptions through Amazon as part of the “Amazon Channels” program. Another redundancy for HBO shows — which, remember, until now had been incredibly closed off to the general public until streaming took off and HBO shows continuously topped piracy records.

That’s why the deal wasn’t extended beyond its apparent three-year timeline. An insider told Vulture that “HBO has so far made no moves to extend its agreement with Amazon and that, as of now at least, it has no plans to do so.”

But a little bit of good news for Amazon Prime subscribers! Not everything is going away on May 21. Sex and the City and Curb Your Enthusiasm look like they’ll be staying on a bit longer, as does Entourage (or is that bad news?). And remember that “Amazon Channels” program? You can still watch HBO shows on Amazon through that service, or by purchasing them on the Amazon Video store.

Or, you know, you can borrow the password to your brother’s girlfriend’s parents’ HBO Now subscription.

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