business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

I was interested in a story that ran on Gizmodo yesterday about how "beginning on September 15, anyone who once subscribed to HBO via their Amazon Prime Video account will have their subscription terminated as part of a deal cut by HBO’s parent company, WarnerMedia, to remove the channel from Prime Video’s Channels service.

"Previously, a placement deal that secured HBO’s presence in the Amazon Channels store had allowed users to access regular HBO programming within the Amazon Fire TV user interface, allowing customers to easily sign up through their Amazon accounts."

Now, you may be wondering what this has to do with retail.

Fear not.  There's a lesson in here.

The story says that even though HBO will lose some five million subscribers when the current deal expires, the folks at WarnerMedia - which owns HBO - decided that it wanted to cut out the middleman in its relationship with viewers.

Andy Forssell, the chief executive over at HBO Max, says that "a short-term culling makes sense in the long run if it will mean that the company can consolidate access in order to cultivate a more direct relationship with consumers."

Here's the exact quote:

“It’s important for us to own the customer,” Forssell said. “If the viewer is in the app, we can tailor the home page to them. We can tailor what they show them next. We can respond to that in real time.”

Which, of course, spoke to my conviction, expressed here ad nauseam, that retailers have to be careful in developing relationships with outside vendors (you know what I am talking about here) that end up owning their lists, their data and, potentially, their customers.

“It’s important for us to own the customer."

That's the Eye-Opener.