The streaming landscape has witnessed a groundbreaking move as HBO titles are making their way to Netflix. This unexpected collaboration between two prominent streaming platforms has surprised the industry.
Some HBO shows are now available on Netflix, offering subscribers content beyond the streaming giant’s original productions. One of the notable additions to the Netflix library is Issa Rae’s highly acclaimed comedy series, “Insecure.” This move marks the first time HBO titles have been featured on Netflix, indicating a significant shift in the streaming landscape.
The decision to bring HBO shows to Netflix resulted from a collaboration between Warner Bros Discovery, the parent company of HBO, and Netflix. As part of this agreement, more HBO shows are set to follow suit, including the miniseries “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific,” along with Alan Ball’s “Six Feet Under” and the Dwayne Johnson-starring series “Ballers.”
The rationale behind this unexpected partnership lies in Warner Bros Discovery’s strategy to generate additional revenue by loaning HBO shows to Netflix. This move comes after several HBO series, such as “Raised by Wolves,” “Minx,” and “Love Life,” were abruptly removed from HBO’s streaming service, Max.
The cancellation of high-profile shows like “Westworld,” which needed one more season to conclude its story, left fans disappointed. However, adding HBO shows to Netflix provides a new platform for viewers to enjoy these beloved series.
While the agreement between Warner Bros Discovery and Netflix currently applies to the United States, there are reports that the vampire drama “True Blood,” also created by Alan Ball, will be the first HBO show available on Netflix outside the US. It is worth noting that “True Blood” is currently streaming on Hulu in the US.
Making HBO shows available on Netflix represents a significant shift in the streaming industry. In the past, the licensing rights of HBO shows were tightly controlled, making it nearly impossible for them to appear on rival streaming services. For instance, in the UK, HBO content is exclusively aired on Sky Atlantic, accessible through NOW.
This groundbreaking collaboration indicates a changing landscape where streaming platforms are willing to collaborate and share content to attract and retain subscribers. Including HBO titles on Netflix serves as a major draw for potential new subscribers, providing them access to a wider range of premium content.
In the early days of television, syndication played a crucial role in broadcasting reruns on other networks and cable channels. However, the implementation of Fin-Syn (Financial Interest Syndication Rules) and PTAR (Prime Time Access Rule) between 1970 and 1995 limited the amount of network programming that could be aired on a given day.
The introduction of these rules aimed to prevent networks from monopolising the industry through vertical integration. However, their repeal in 1995 paved the way for streaming-enabled studios to produce and distribute their own content directly through their platforms. The recent deal between Warner Bros Discovery and Netflix represents a unique moment in the streaming wars, where original premium content plays a vital role in attracting subscribers.
Previously, studios without their own streaming platforms often licensed their content to other streaming services, just as Warner Bros licensed “Friends” to Netflix in a lucrative deal.
The recent agreement between Warner Bros Discovery and Netflix follows a similar pattern. It reflects a time when studios lacked their own streaming arms and sought to reach a broader audience by partnering with established platforms.
The inclusion of HBO shows on Netflix has far-reaching implications for the streaming landscape. This collaboration sets a precedent for other streaming platforms to consider licensing and profiting from their original content. We have already seen a unique moment with the Walt Disney-owned film “Avatar: The Way of Water” being available on both HBO Max and Disney+. However, it is unlikely that unedited episodes of shows like “And Just Like That” will be added to Disney+ anytime soon.