Television behemoth HBO is gearing up to launch its new streaming service, HBO Max, for the United States in a few months time. But a recent copyright register suggests Australia might also be in its sights.
While the register doesn’t mean we have a definite confirmation, it signals the entertainment company’s interest in potentially releasing its content directly for Australians, which means services offering HBO content exclusively might soon be left without the rights.
HBO Max is set to be unveiled in the U.S. by May 2020 and promises to offer customers a barrage of popular content, including HBO shows like Big Little Lies and Westworld as well as Warner Bros. shows such as Friends, which streams on Stan in Australia right now.
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In Australia, Foxtel is the home of HBO content with shows like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and The Wire being offered exclusively with their streaming and set top box subscriptions. It’s suggested Foxtel’s exclusivity deal with HBO has another two years remaining, according to SMH’s report, so if that’s the case, HBO could decide to delay a service launch until that deal expires or launch with just its exclusive Max shows. We’ve reached out to Foxtel and WarnerMedia Entertainment, HBO’s parent company, for comments regarding their plans.
While HBO-produced shows are only available for streaming on Foxtel in Australia, some of those shows are also available for digital purchase on Apple’s iTunes, Google’s Play Store and the Microsoft Store. HBO Max will host the upcoming book adaptions Made for Love and Station Eleven in the U.S. while Stan owns the streaming rights in Australia when they’re eventually released.
These realities mean, unlike Disney’s brutal take back of its content in Australia upon its service’s launch, HBO Max isn’t likely to launch immediately in the country.
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