HBO Max, Roku team up on 'House of the Dragon' promotion

HBO Max is prepping in full force for the debut of its “House of the Dragon” series, partnering with Roku to promote the “Game of Thrones” prequel – through a series of new user features for Roku devices.

Beginning today, Roku users will find a dedicated “House of the Dragon” hub on Roku’s home screen menu. From there, they can view several promotional features related to the show, like sneak peek trailers and a giveaway for a “House of the Dragon” themed Roku Ultra device.

HBO Max’s promotional collaboration with Roku comes ahead of the TV show’s premiere on August 21. Roku also unveiled what it’s calling the Roku Rundown, a 15-minute feature video that recaps the entire “Game of Thrones” series – designed to reel in both new and returning viewers of the franchise.

Media companies are building up series franchises to keep audiences hooked on their services. Disney is looking to snag streaming rights for “Doctor Who” to complement its collection of “Marvel Cinematic Universe” and “Star Wars” content.

AMC, which just finished airing the series finale for “Breaking Bad” prequel “Better Call Saul,” announced on its recent earnings call lead actors Bob Odenkirk and Giancarlo Esposito will each star in two upcoming AMC shows.

Similar to HBO Max’s promotional efforts, Amazon last month gave Prime members an exclusive teaser for its “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” which will premiere September 2 on Prime Video.

Amid its boosting of “House of the Dragon,” HBO Max plans to pull 36 original titles from its platform, the streamer confirmed to NPR.

The move is part of Warner Bros. Discovery’s cost-cutting initiatives, as the company aims to release a combined HBO Max and Discovery+ platform in 2023. HBO Max last month also axed original series production in several European countries.

Despite these measures, HBO Max is offering discounted versions of both its ad-free and ad-supported annual plans. Up until October 30, consumers can subscribe to the ad-supported plan for $70 per year or the ad-free plan for $105 annually – saving $30 or $45 off the regular price, respectively.

And while HBO Max still operates as a standalone service, its subscribers can benefit from the streamer’s latest UI overhaul for web and mobile apps, which includes more intuitive content navigation.

As for Roku, the company has been beefing up its subscription partnerships. In addition to creating a “House of the Dragon” hub, it now has a dedicated programming guide for Paramount+, a first for a Roku premium subscription partner.