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Cutting the cord: New Amazon Streaming Partners for Prime

Written By | Dec 9, 2015

WASHINGTON, December 9, 2015 – Tuesday, Amazon announced on its website that it’s firing its latest shot in the now red-hot pay-TV unbundling war. The online mega-retailer is now offering a new video add-on benefit (of sorts) to it current and prospective Amazon Prime customers.

Prime subscribers currently pay $99 for a year of free regular-way merchandise shipping for most ordered items. The Prime package also includes a tempting bonus—a streaming TV service that features many second run TV series and films that range from free to a nominal pay-per-view charge. Dubbing its new add-on program “Amazon Streaming Partners,” the company is now making available premium content from Showtime, Starz and other providers like British-based content provider Acorn for an additional fee starting at $8.99 per month to Prime subscribers. (For details and available channels/services, check this link.)

It’s clear that the war for traditional cable TV subscribers is inching its way toward Armageddon when it comes to capturing the eyeballs of cable’s long-captive and grossly overcharged subscribers, nearly all of whom pay an unreasonably hefty price for a massive package of cable channels, most of which are of no interest to individual customers.

Available as streaming video via broadband, limited-content packages like Amazon’s new service, some new network TV program packages, more established streaming services like Netflix and others still in the planning stage are making it increasingly easy for cable customers to cut the cord and buy much of the programming they want without being forced to pay for all those extra channels they never watch.

Amazon’s own add-on “Streaming Partners” service will, as usual, make it easy for customers to subscribe by dealing with payments, customer support, billing and the actual task of video streaming via its own state-of-the-art back-office systems. As Amazon Digital Video VP Michael Paull said Tuesday to Deadline, “The way people watch TV is changing, and customers need an easier way to subscribe to and enjoy multiple streaming subscriptions.”

According to Deadline,

“The e-retailer says that subscribers will benefit from free trials, special pricing, and the ability to watch episodes ‘simultaneous with broadcast.’ Users can add the premium content to their Watchlists, access shows by Fire TV’s voice search, and cancel any subscription at any time.”

Terry Ponick

Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Senior Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17