Merchant Innovation

Amazon Beefs Up Prime Streaming

In the war of offering the most convenient services to customers possible, on-demand platforms are in a veritable arms race to add new content and features. Not one to fall behind the pack, Amazon just added a major ally to its camp.

Amazon announced Tuesday (Dec. 8) that it had signed a few more members to its “Streaming Partners Program.” Those members now include Showtime and Starz. For Amazon Prime members willing to shell out $8.99 per month, they can buy access to catalogs of premium programming in an imitation of a la carte channel service that cable and satellite TV companies have been toying around with for years. Moreover, since Amazon handles all payments, there’s no cumbersome bills to pay or friction-filled accounts to set up — something Michael Paull, vice president of digital video at Amazon, thinks customers will pick up on.

“The way people watch TV is changing, and customers need an easier way to subscribe to and enjoy multiple streaming subscriptions,” Paull said in a statement. “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.”

While Amazon won’t be trying any creative pricing strategies with the subscriptions just yet, Re/code reported that officials at the company want to be more than just a hub for a la carte cable channels and more of a service bundler for Prime members. Could this mean discounts on channel subscriptions based on additional features or purchase history?

Whatever the future holds for Amazon, it’s clear that customers are biting on using Internet services to replace their primetime TV watching. A study from Sandvine found that Amazon video accounted for 3.11 percent of mid-evening Internet streaming along, up from 1.61 percent last year.

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