HBO launched a new expanded streaming service on Wednesday, local time,media reported. HBO Max is an upgrade to the existing HBO Now service. Users can get the HBO Max app on all Apple devices, but it comes at a cost: HBO’s partnership with the Apple TV channel is coming to an end.
The HBO channel has been removed from the Apple TV app since Wednesday. If the user is a current HBO channel subscriber, the channel will still be available for the time being, but will not be updated to Max Exclusive Content.
HBO’s Apple TV channel now has a “carousel” to promote Max. Tapping on any of the turntables will lead users to download the HBO Max app. HBO wants users to use their service through their app, HBO Max. They have no interest in reselling their services through third-party UI such as the Apple TV app interface.
If users subscribe to HBO through Apple TV Channels, they can download HBO Max and access all content for free through their Apple ID account. If the user is re-coming to HBO Max, they can subscribe within the HBO Max app using apple in-app purchases.
HBO Max is committed to integrating with TV apps, with shows appearing in the unified Apple TV Up Next queue, as well as Siri Universal Search. But All-in-one Channels support is not on the roadmap. The key advantage of Apple TV Channels over integrated third-party application integration is that TV apps can play the content directly without having to transfer users to an app interface with another company. Apple TV Channels content can also be downloaded as you download Apple TV Plus or iTunes content, and with home sharing, you can easily share a subscription with up to six family members.
Unfortunately, the network’s interest in Apple TV Channels seems to be declining. None of the major upcoming streaming services have agreed to appear as Channel, with Disney Plus, HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock coming soon. Netflix, the biggest video streaming service, has been shunning any meaningful TV app consolidation.
As a user, it is the best experience when the company agrees to be fully aggregated into a user interface. But content companies worry that they will lose customer relationships because of their involvement in something like Channels. With dedicated APPs, they can maintain customer visits and differentiate with new features and different types of content.