Not-so much a total unbundling of the bundle that we’ve been hearing and talking so much about, but it’s a continuation of what’s already begun. And I anticipate that we’ll see more of this kind of action in the future.
Amazon today announced its launch of what the company calls the Streaming Partners Program, an over-the-top streaming subscription service for content providers that enables them to reach tens of millions of Amazon Prime members.
Initial launch partners include: SHOWTIME, STARZ, A+E Network (Lifetime Movie Club), AMC (Shudder and SundanceNow Doc Club), Gaia, RLJ Entertainment (Acorn TV, Urban Movie Channel, Acacia TV), DramaFever (DramaFever Instant), Tribeca Short List, Cinedigm (Dove Channel, Docurama, CONtv), Smithsonian (Smithsonian Earth), IndieFlix (IndieFlix Shorts), Curiosity Stream, Qello, FlixFling (Cinefest, Nature Vision, Warriors and Gangsters, Dox, Monsters and Nightmares), BroadbandTV (Hooplakidz Plus), DEFY Media (ScreenJunkies Plus), Gravitas (Film Forum, Daring Docs, Fear Factory), and Ring TV Boxing.
"The way people watch TV is changing, and customers need an easier way to subscribe to and enjoy multiple streaming subscriptions," said Michael Paull, Vice President of Digital Video at Amazon. "With the Streaming Partners Program, we’re making it easy for video providers to reach highly engaged Prime members, many of whom are already frequent streamers, and we’re making it easier for viewers to watch their favorite shows and channels."
"We’re excited to work with Amazon to offer our streaming service featuring all of our award-winning original series, plus our exclusive sports, news-making documentaries and blockbuster movies, to millions of Prime users," said David Nevins, President, Showtime Networks Inc. "By marrying SHOWTIME with the powerhouse retail capabilities of Amazon, we continue to greatly expand our footprint, making sure our service is available to new subscribers whenever and however they want to watch us."
"STARZ is excited to offer subscriptions to our premium hit shows like ‘Outlander’ and ‘Power,’ as well as our thousands of movies, to Amazon Prime customers," said Chris Albrecht, CEO of Starz said. "This is a terrific product for customers to conveniently navigate their entertainment options quickly, easily and anywhere."
The Streaming Partners Program offers many benefits for viewers, including:
– Free trials on all subscriptions
– Special Prime member pricing
– Latest episodes available simultaneous with broadcast
– Convenience of one account
– One Watchlist across all subscriptions
– Self-service cancellation of any subscription at anytime
– IMDb X-Ray integration
– Unified search and browse across subscriptions
– Unified voice search and ASAP on Fire TV
I’m already an Amazon Prime member (have been for years actually), and I’m also a recent cord-cutter, relying primarily on my Prime membership, plus Netflix and Hulu for my content. It means that I can’t watch anything live (unless it’s original programming on Netflix, Amazon or Hulu, which typically becomes available all at once, for binge-watching), but I’m ok with that. I actually don’t watch a lot of TV, maybe surprisingly, given what I do here on S&A, but I’m able to get the content that I want, when I want it, and stay current. For example, a lot of the TV networks make their shows available online (some via services like Hulu and Amazon) the day after they air, so I can catch them within 24 hours of their air date. My previous cable bill was around $120 a month (including premium channels, HBO, Showtime and Starz), but I wasn’t watching the majority of the other channels that came with the package I subscribed to, so I just didn’t think it was worth the cost, so I canceled. Now I’m paying around $30 a month for the services I have, and I actually don’t miss anything at all, which surprised me initially. So I doubt that I’ll ever sign up again for standard cable TV.
I’ll investigate this new Amazon bundling, and determine if it’s cost-effective for me. They are offering Showtime and Starz for $9 a month extra. I don’t watch either religiously, so I don’t know if it’s worth it for me to sign up for them. I do watch "Homeland" on Showtime, but that’s about it! So it might be a case of me signing up for Showtime for a month to watch "Homeland," but then cancel once I’m done.
Keep in mind that these premium channels typically cost around $15+ to add.
Is this new program from Amazon attractive to you?