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HBO Max & Snap offer free episodes of Game of Thrones, Gossip Girl reboot

Through Snapchat, users can watch full-length episodes of HBO Max programming

HBO Max is giving Snapchat users the ability to stream their favorite shows for free with their friends in real time — directly through the Snapchat app. The move could help the streaming platform continue its pandemic-induced subscription hot streak. Here’s what you need to know.

Today, HBO Max has announced a new partnership with Snap that enables US users to stream free, full-length episodes of HBO Max shows — including Game of Thrones, Euphoria, Looney Tunes, Lovecraft Country, the 2021 Gossip Girl reboot and more — alongside their friends through Snap Minis, the social media’s cross-app integration that allows shared experiences.

Challenger brand HBO Max is the first major streaming service to offer free access to full-length programming via Snap Minis.

“People love to come together to watch their favorite HBO Max shows and talk about what’s unfolding,” said Sarah Lyons, HBO Max executive vice president of DTC global product management, in a statement today. “Our partnership with Snapchat is another step towards fulfilling that desire for human connection and providing our fans with co-viewing opportunities, while deepening their emotional relationship with the brand.

To take advantage of the integration, installation of the HBO Max app is not required; users can view shows directly through Snap Minis, which can be accessed via search in the app or through the rocket icon within the Chat feature.

Within Minis, Snapchat users can gain access to watch groups for specific shows, so long as those shows are rated as age-appropriate for a given user. Users can also host virtual viewing events of their own and invite as many as 63 friends to join them by sending a chat message with a link to join or by sharing a sticker link in an image sent through the Snap camera. Certain Snapchat features, such as direct messaging and Bitmoji reactions, are available during viewing, so users can react and interact with their friends in real time while watching.

“We believe humans value recommendations that come from other humans, so having the opportunity for friends to suggest, and then subsequently watch content together paves the way for more meaningful discovery,” said Lyons in the statement.

The partnership offers access to a limited number of full episodes, which may incentivize users to download and subscribe to HBO Max to access the full season of a given show. After viewing an episode, users who are 18 or older are prompted with an invitation to subscribe to HBO Max to continue watching and check out the entire lineup of shows available on the platform.

The promotion could help the streaming giant further capitalize on the momentum it’s seen of late. HBO and HBO Max closed out the first quarter of this year with a combined 63.9 million subscribers globally — representing a 35.3% year-over-year spike. Emerging from the pandemic, HBO and HBO Max, both of which fall under the WarnerMedia umbrella, will be looking to maintain this impressive growth rate. Partnerships like the new deal with Snap could certainly help.

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