Amazon Prime Partners with Showtime and Starz for Premium Streaming

imgresBy James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)

Cable cutters now have more choices through Amazon thanks to a partnership with Showtime, Starz and up to other channels found on cable. The new service will give subscribers premium access to the pay cable services for an additional price. Here’s how it works…

“I don’t think it cannibalizes the existing business. It is a way to innovate and create real value.This is a terrific product for customers to conveniently navigate their entertainment options quickly, easily and anywhere. To us, this is a no-brainer” – Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, Variety

amazon-showtimeThe new streaming arrangement, dubbed the Amazon Streaming Partners Program, is clearly a response to HBO Now, which has enjoyed considerable success through AppleTV and other streaming portals.  Users can sign up and watch from the Amazon video app, right along side Amazon’s prime video offerings, as well through Roku, FireTV and other supported devices.

The programming channels available thru an a la carte month to month arrangement include:

  1. Showtime
  2. Starz,
  3. Lifetime Movie Club
  4. AMC’s Shudder
  5. SundanceNow
  6. Comedy Central’s Standup+
  7. Acorn TV
  8. Dramafever
  9. the Dove Channel
  10. IndieFlix
  11. Ring TV Boxing.

Amazon also plans to add more channels down the road and has hinted that they may get into streaming of live programming and sporting events.  Consumers will be able to pick and choose these add-ons on an a la carte basis, and change their lineup month to month.

Amazon is also getting competitive with the monthly fee structure at $8.99 a month, thereby, undercutting Apple’s iTunes by $2. Even then, Amazon will profit from a percentage of the monthly premium fee structure without having to deal with complicated streaming rights issues. The channels benefit by letting Amazon deal with the back end of billing and subscription fee maintenance, and even handling all the streaming bandwidth, avoiding costly deals with ISPs and other content delivery networks.

Some providers, however, haven’t been so eager to embrace the new paradigm, feeling that they would rather directly handle their customer base directly. This may also be why Apple has decided to press the pause button on their own service, seeing that the landscape is becoming more crowded with also ran streaming networks offering channel content. By catering to each individual service with dedicated channel apps, they can allow the services to handle their own customers and still get a piece of the pie providing the conduit.

This is the very nature of ala carte programming and it’s where the industry is moving. Which has it’s plus and minuses. First, we get the plus of being able to choose exactly the programming we want, without having to pay for channels we never watch. That’s the good thing. But the promises of doing it for less than cable is now becoming less and less likely. Sure, you pay less for Starz/Showtime than you would with cable, but then you add your Netflix subscription, your Hulu Plus subscription, your Amazon Prime subscription, and suddenly, you’re probably paying just as much, if not more.

And that’s where the cable industry can swoop in and offering a cable like bundle for internet access. That will spell the end of a free and open Internet. That’s the fallout of failing to address Net Neutrality, folks. Here’s hoping it doesn’t come to that.

Hat Tip – Variety

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Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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