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Amazon adds subscription packages to SVOD offering

As Netflix doubles down on originals, its closest competitor looks to make the on-demand experience feel more like cable TV.
December 8, 2015

Subscribers to Amazon’s Prime service, which includes access to Amazon’s SVOD Amazon Video, will soon have the option to add additional video packages onto their Amazon Video subscription.

Amazon’s new Streaming Partners program, announced Dec. 8, will allow users to add on subscriptions to other VOD services such as those Showtime, Starz, the Lifetime Movie Club, Cinedigm’s ConTV, Documara and Dove Channel, Smithsonian Earth, DramaFever, Curiosity Stream and more. The services range from $2.99 to $8.99 per month each — that’s on top of the Amazon Prime annual fee of $99.

Amazon will manage all subscriptions, billing and technical services. Users’ additional subscribed content will appear in one central location on their interface.

Michael Paull, VP, digital video at Amazon told StreamDaily that curated services are key to keeping subscribers happy in a competitive environment.

“Today, when consumers want to watch a show, they must navigate through multiple apps, which requires them to make multiple accounts and requires extra work to find what they want,” said Paull. “At the end of the day, this is about simplicity — there’s no need for multiple apps, no need for multiple bills, it’s all in one place.”

Amazon is not commenting on revenue sharing under the content deal.

Curation, content discovery and organization of content are top-of-mind for many cable and OTT subscribers, according to Boston-based research firm Altman Vilandrie & Company. A November survey by the firm indicated that 86% of people who use subscription or OTT platforms would like a single app to aggregate video viewing and make it easier for them to find programming they want to watch.

Amazon’s announcement comes as Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos made public the SVOD’s plans to double down on its original offerings in 2016, offering a total of 31 scripted shows.

When it comes to content acquisitions, Netflix has made no secret of its preference for exclusive content deals. In August, Sarandos took to Netflix’s corporate blog to explain why the SVOD was dropping a number of high-profile movies and TV shows from its library and that it was now favoring exclusivity.

“Our goal is to provide great movies and TV series… that are only available on Netflix,” Sarandos wrote at the time.

Amazon, Netflix’s closest rival in the subscription streaming space, has chosen to follow a very different strategy. It’s signed a number of non-exclusive acquisitions in recent months, including HBO’s Sex and the City. That said, Amazon has also scored big with an limited slate of originals, such as Emmy-winner Transparent (pictured).

SVOD competitor Hulu launched a similar partnership with Showtime in June, although, to date, Showtime is the only network to partner with Hulu.

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