Before YouTube TV subscribers get too excited let’s make something clear. The new deal announced between YouTube TV and HBO Max is not a deal that will give YouTube TV subscribers free access to HBO Max. It is simply an agreement between the two companies that gives YouTube TV permission to sell subscriptions for HBO Max via the YouTube TV app. YouTube TV will offer the service, which will cost $14.99, as part of what is expected to be a group of paid streaming apps. Basically as has been reported in a number of publications YouTube TV is looking to be a third party distributor for HBO Max and other services going forward much in the same way that Amazon, Roku and Apple sell subscriptions to streaming services and split the fees according to an agreed upon percentage. Other streaming services like Sling TV sell subscriptions to other streaming apps as well.
Another major part of this deal is that it will allow YouTube TV subscribers to add HBO’s traditional channel to their subscription. It will allow YouTube to offer an experience that puts more content in one place so that users don’t have to leave its the app.
The key story here is that there is no mention of HBO Now. HBO Now has been Warners’ way to market HBO content without cable for years. But when the company announced HBO Max it was obvious that the two services offered customers the same HBO content for the same price with HBO Max offering more content from other properties. It frankly made no sense. Now it appears that Warner is making it obvious what will happen in the future. It is not going to promote HBO Now anymore. Most likely HBO Now customers are simply going to be transitioned over to being HBO Max customers. The needed consolidation of Warners multiple services is starting to take place before our eyes.