HBO Series Close To Streaming On Netflix In Major Deal

HBO is considering a deal to allow Netflix streaming rights to some of its content.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

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It’s an open secret that Warner Bros. Discovery will do almost anything to save a buck, up to and including killing complete films and tearing some of the most beloved content from Max. It’s gotten so bad that we didn’t think any of these cost-cutting moves could surprise us, but that all changed today. Deadline reports that Warner Bros. is nearing a deal where it would share “some of its HBO library titles to rival Netflix.”

Right now, it’s important to emphasize that no deals with Netflix have been finalized, so there is a possibility nothing will happen at all. However, it looks very likely that the Issa Rae show Insecure is going to appear on the rival streaming platform. And other, as-yet-unnamed shows may also get shared with Netflix.

issa rae insecure
Issa Rae’s Insecure may soon stream on both Max and Netflix

Incidentally, “shared” is quite literal: this deal doesn’t involve any exclusivity rights, meaning that shows like Insecure could be streamed simultaneously on both Max and Netflix. This is very significant because it is practically unheard of for one major streaming network to share killer content with its biggest rival. However, all of this amounts to a major gamble on the part of Warner Bros. Discovery when it comes to gaining new subscribers.

The traditional wisdom holds that subscribers flock to particular streaming services because of the exclusive content, which is why the NBC platform Peacock offers exclusive Superfan episodes of The Office that fans can’t watch anywhere else.

So there is always a chance Max will dilute both its brand and its value when audiences realize they can watch an increasing amount of HBO exclusives without subscribing to a new service. On the other hand, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is clearly hoping that sharing content with Netflix (which has more than twice as many subscribers as Max) will help to advertise his own streaming service.

While it may be shocking to think about Max content popping up on Netflix, there is some clear precedent for this maneuver. Way back in 2014, HBO shared some of its premium content with Amazon, including Deadwood, The Sopranos, and The Wire. But that was notably back before HBO considered Amazon a rival because the platform didn’t offer its own original series, and shows such as The Boys have since transformed Prime into a streaming rival to be reckoned with.

On a related note, it was just earlier this year that HBO began to license previously-exclusive content such as Westworld to streaming platforms such as Roku and Tubi. But as free streaming services, neither of those platforms is considered a rival for Max. The same can’t be said for Netflix, and it will be interesting to see which platform benefits the most from this prospective deal.

Ultimately, if this deal with Netflix goes through, it may be the rare move from Warner Bros. Discovery that actually benefits consumers. A growing number of Max subscribers have grown annoyed by how much content is being yanked, potentially forever, because a wealthy CEO might not really really understand what makes his own company valuable. At this point, amid all this disappearing content, we’re just happy to hear that hit shows like Insecure will reach more audiences rather than being unceremoniously shelved.