Amazon is making cord cutting easier than ever: The company launched its new Streaming Partners Program today, allowing members to purchase streaming subscriptions from premium networks like Showtime, Starz, and more through an Amazon Prime account.
The new program seeks to address the transformation of how people consume TV today. “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, in a press release.
With the Streaming Partners Program, members will be able to sample Amazon’s partner services through free trials, and then opt to sign up for a month-to-month subscription with self-cancellation, if desired. The program also offers special bundled pricing on new channels. A Showtime subscription on Amazon, for example, is priced at $9 a month, whereas consumers will pay $11 a month for Showtime’s stand alone streaming service on iTunes and Google Play.
New episodes of shows will be available as soon as their broadcast starts, and users will be able to watch from any of their compatible devices. Along with giving Prime members access to a ton of new content, the add-on subscriptions create a bundling blueprint of sorts for the cord-cutting set who still want access to premium network shows. To simplify how subscribers manage their content, Amazon has enabled searching and browsing across subscriptions, along with the ability to maintain a single Watchlist.
“This is a terrific product for customers to conveniently navigate their entertainment options quickly, easily and anywhere,” said Starz CEO Chris Albrecht.
So far, Amazon’s partners include Showtime, Starz, and select properties from A+E Network, AMC, Gaia, RLJ Entertainment, DramaFever, Tribeca Short List, Cinedigm, Smithsonian, IndieFlix, Curiosity Stream, Qello, FlixFling, BroadbandTV, DEFY Media, Gravitas, and Ring TV Boxing. The biggest missing piece here is HBO Now, which normally runs subscribers $15 per month, and could be a very enticing addition if Amazon could knock the price down for Prime members.
Admittedly, some of the new choices are more tempting than others, but the beauty is in being to select those that you actually want, rather than being forced to buy a bundle. The online retailer plans to continue to add more partners. Could HBO be next? We’ll keep an eye on this story, and update as more partners come on board.