The Roku Channel’s Premium Subscriptions now include HBO.
The timing of this change neatly coincides with the upcoming launch of the final season of Game of Thrones.
Once the last season debuts it is expected HBO will get a spike in subscriptions and this is even more likely as the service becomes available through more outlets - such as The Roku Channel.
As per the announcement, HBO access via The Roku Channel is live starting from today, costs $14.99 per month and comes with a seven-day free trial.
Those opting to go The Roku Channel route for Game of Thrones can either wait until closer to the April 14 season launch date to capitalize on the free trial, or sign up to binge-watch all of the past seasons before the new one lands.
Roku announced The Roku Channel in late 2017 as a means to initially offer a variety of free content to owners of Roku hardware products through an ad-supported monetization model.
Since then the service has expanded massively and not only to non-Roku devices -- including desktop and Android -- but also to paid-for content. The latter of which came through with the launch of Premium Subscriptions in early 2019.
Premium Subscriptions work along similar lines to Amazon Channels by letting users subscribe to various premium networks through one outlet.
In principle, The Roku Channel is a subscription management tool and options like this are likely to appeal to consumers who don’t envy the idea of having to micro-manage multiple subscriptions each month.
Opting to go this route does not make the subscriptions any more affordable, but simply acts as a centralized location for subscribing, managing and accessing third-party channels and networks.
So far, The Roku Channel subscription lineup has been a little limited compared to Amazon channels, but it is growing - today’s announcement also confirmed Cinemax will be available through Premium Subscriptions soon.
Both Cinemax and HBO are owned by WarnerMedia and all three are owned by AT&T.
Ever since acquiring HBO through the wider Time Warner purchase, AT&T has been looking to expand the HBO subscriber base as much as possible.
Last month AT&T significantly changed up its DIRECTV NOW plans by reducing the number of channels included in the main plans while at the same time upping the monthly price. These moves were softened by the inclusion of free HBO for DIRECTV NOW customers.
This followed a fairly lengthy period of AT&T also bundling in HBO access with some of its premium mobile network plans.
With The Roku Channel now on board, the roads leading to HBO have increased a little more.
It hasn’t all been expansion though, as not too long ago AT&T and DISH Network fell out over negotiations leading to a HBO blackout across DISH Network-owned platforms, including Sling TV. A blackout that’s still in effect today.
As is the trend at the moment, consumers don’t technically have to sign up to HBO via any third-party provider. The service can be subscribed to and accessed directly through the network’s main portals, including via the HBO Now Android app.