According to insiders, Amazon will soon let its Prime Instant Video users tap into other on-demand networks. They’ll have the option of adding other subscriptions to their accounts including well-known TV and movie channels. They will also sell prepackaged bundles of their own creation. According to unidentified sources, the new feature may go live as soon as next month.
Having other’s programming may help lure new customers to Amazon Prime as it competes with Netflix and Hulu. Combining the company’s expertise in retail with its growing investment in video, this new feature would mark the next evolution in Amazon’s approach to home entertainment. Essentially, Prime Instant Video would resemble something between a cable-TV subscription and the buffet-style online TV devices like Roku, Apple TV and the company’s own Amazon Fire TV. The company would also allegedly allow users to directly log into other streaming services using their Amazon credentials.
According to Bloomberg, most of the participating companies plan to share revenue in some way with Amazon. Viewers will still know that content is coming from a different company because Amazon will create landing pages for other video services in Prime.
A partnership with Amazon is also beneficial for competing companies, as it gives them access to subscribers from Primes immense customer base. It would also give them a chance to attract younger viewers who have stopped signing up through traditional cable-TV packages.
Although they don’t disclose how many customers they have or how many of them watch TV online with Prime, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated that Prime had 44 million members in July. Most analysts estimate that Prime is the second-most popular Internet Service after Netflix, which has 43.2 million customers in the US.
These company changes are separate from Amazon’s effort to build a live online-TV service that competes directly with cable TV. Amazon is still in talks with various media companies about that service which could get more people to buy the Fire TV. Apple is also pursuing a similar idea.
Netflix’s success at building the largest online pay-TV service in the world has caused companies like Time Warner, CBS, and NBC Universal to create streaming products of their own. Everyone is still experimenting with the best overall way to deliver TV online and reach the elusive group of young people who refuse to sign up for cable-TV packages. The current model is unrecognizable from the one 5 years ago and it’s possible that 5 years from now it will be unrecognizable again.