Amazon Channels launches in UK, Germany as the app-ification of TV continues
Like in the US, the service is available to existing Prime Video members to watch on smart TVs, iOS and Android mobile devices, plus through the Amazon Fire stick
Today, Amazon is launching Amazon Channels in the UK and Germany, a television subscription service that allows Amazon Prime members to buy monthly subscriptions to individual channels, priced from £1.49 per month to £9.49 per month. It is basically an app solution to the problem of cable television, and is similar in design to the same service available in the US which allows viewers to buy such channels as HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, Cinemax individually.
I’m a bit of a skeptic concerning whether app-ing television can work. As I see it, there are two types of television viewers: those that want all the channels and are willing to pay for it, and those cord-cutters that don’t mind picking a few channels and that is that. My problem then is not that I don’t recognize both markets, but that I see this fragmentation as bad for both sides.
But TV apps are definitely here to stay.
For one thing, smaller players, including publishers, can get involved in video apps. Roku, then Apple TV, were among the first to offer this as an option to third parties, and services such as MAZ’s TVX platform are allowing publishers to launch their own apps for OTT devices. The issue for publishers is having the kind of content that viewers will want to get them to actually pay for them. So far, I have been less than impressed with the streaming content.
But as Apple, and now Google, have discovered, it is hard to piece together a subscription service that can offer enough channels. It simply is tough selling to the networks. So, going this route, individual channels, where the channel owner receives the lion’s share of the subscription fee, may be the way to go.
It will be interesting to see if Amazon finds success with Amazon Channels in the UK and Germany. It is such tough sledding here in the US where consumers are presented with many streaming options, though generally one one cable TV option per market. Consumers in the US are frustrated by the fact that TV is so expensive, though it offers so many choices. Streaming is appealing because of the choice factor. But still it is frustrating — take Hulu for example. Why do I ever really need Hulu if I have Comcast? Well, now there is the popular series The Handmaid’s Tale as an answer. While cable is expensive, it is equally expensive to subscribe to multiple streaming services, as it would be to subscribe to a long list of channels separately.
Prime is priced at two tiers in the UK and Germany — £7.99 and £5.99 (video only) in the UK and €8.99 and €7.99 (video only) in Germany.
here is Amazon’s announcement (which is always quite lengthy):
London, UK – May 23, 2017 – Amazon today announces the launch of Amazon Channels in the UK and Germany. Amazon Channels allows Prime members to add channel subscriptions for a low monthly subscription fee, available individually without the need to sign up for a bundle or enter a lengthy contract. Amazon Channels available in the UK include Discovery, Eurosport Player, ITV Hub+, hayu, MUBI, BFI Player, MGM, Hopster, Shudder, Heera (Amazon’s own Bollywood channel) and many others.
Prime members in the UK can now enjoy premium factual entertainment series such as Gold Rush on Discovery, great reality TV like Keeping Up With The Kardashians on hayu, or timeless movies such as The Hobbit on MGM by signing up to the relevant subscription. Amazon Channels also brings live sport to Prime members including comprehensive coverage of the upcoming French Open Tennis 2017 tournament on Eurosport Player. Along with a range of genre TV subscriptions, Amazon Channels also offers Prime members access to Heera, Amazon’s own, curated Bollywood channel, offering more than 500 movies including recent releases like Sultan starring Salman Khan.
This is the first time that some of these channels, including Discovery, have been made available independently of any ‘bundle’, enabling customers to only pay for the premium TV they want to watch. Customers can click to sign up and can also click to cancel at anytime. Customer benefits include:
- More choice:
- A range of premium and genre TV channel subscriptions to add
- Live TV and on-demand
- Free trials on the majority of subscriptions
- More convenience:
- One Prime Video app
- One Amazon account: no need to switch between multiple accounts
- Unified search, browse and Amazon recommendations
- Majority of channels available to download for customers to watch anywhere, anytime
- Underpinned by Amazon’s award-winning customer service
- Pay only for what you want:
- Customers only pay for what they want to watch
- No bundles
- Cancel anytime
“For the first time, Prime members in the UK and Germany will be able to choose to watch premium TV channels without having to sign up to a bundle or a contract, giving them the freedom to pay for only what they want to watch,” said Alex Green, MD, Europe, Amazon Channels. “From live sport to Bollywood, arthouse cinema to reality TV, and award-winning TV shows from popular channels like Discovery and ITV, Amazon Channels gives power back to customers to choose exactly what they want to watch.”
Susanna Dinnage, President of Discovery Networks UK and Chief Content Officer, International, said: “We are delighted to bring our premium factual and sports content to Amazon Prime members. This partnership underlines our strategic ambition to reach people across every screen. Amazon Prime members can now experience the shows that are loved by Discovery fans as well as enjoy an exciting summer of sport which is about to kick off on the Eurosport Player.”
Simon Pitts, ITV Managing Director, Online, Pay and Interactive, said: “The ITV Hub is all about giving viewers more choice about how and when they access their favourite ITV shows, including watching without the ads via ITV Hub+ for £3.99 per month. We’re delighted to be part of the Amazon Channels launch line-up in the UK.”
Amazon Channels are available via the existing Prime Video app to watch anytime, anywhere through the Amazon Video app on smart TVs, iOs and Android mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire tablets and games consoles and through the web at www.amazon.co.uk/channels.
Additional subscriptions will be added in the coming months. Amazon Channels now available include:
- Acacia TV – Hundreds of fun and effective workouts for every fitness level for £5.99 a month
- Alchemiya – Great films and documentaries about Muslim culture and life for £3.99 a month
- Arrow Video – On demand cult classics and horror from Arrow Films for £4.99 a month
- BFI Player+ – On Demand classic British and critically acclaimed movies for £4.99 a month
- BeFit UK – Get fit fast with unlimited streaming of hundreds of workouts for £5.99 a month
- Comic Con HQ – Fan-favourite films, original programming, exclusive access and more for £4.99 a month
- Curiosity Stream – Exclusive documentaries from the world’s best filmmakers in HD for £5.49 a month
- Daily Burn – On Demand and live workouts including dance, strength training, yoga, cardio and more for £9.99 a month
- Discovery – Documentaries and unscripted entertainment from Discovery for £4.99 a month
- Eurosport Player – Live and On Demand sports programming, including Grand Slam tennis, cycling and winter sports for £6.99 a month
- Fandor – A hand-picked collection of the most talked about indie, foreign and classic films for £3.49 a month
- Filmbox – Hollywood movies, favourite evergreens and popular series for £3.99 a month
- Full Moon Features – All the Full Moon classics and new releases on demand for £3.99 a month
- Gaia – Yoga, nutrition, meditation and more for £7.99 a month
- Horse & Country Play – The home of equestrianism and British country lifestyle, now on demand for £3.99 a month
- ITV Hub+ – Watch live, download your favourite ITV shows for offline viewing, and catch up on tons of ad-free episodes for £3.99 a month
- hayu (NBC Universal) – On Demand reality TV programming including Keeping Up with the Kardashians for £3.99 a month
- Heera – An Amazon-exclusive on demand channel with over 600 Bollywood, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, and Telegu movies and series including blockbusters like Sultan and Kabali for only £3.99 a month
- Hopster – Make screen time smart with safe, ad-free content for kids for £3.99 a month
- Ketchup TV – Hundreds of episodes of shows for kids, packed with their favourites for £2.29 a month
- Love Nature – Ad-free, family friendly nature documentaries on demand for £3.99 a month
- MGM – Hollywood hits, timeless classics and cult favourites movies from MGM for £4.49 a month
- Motorvision – On Demand TV dedicated to the automotive world including car reviews & tests, motorsports and lifestyle shows for £2.99 a month
- MUBI – A new, critically acclaimed movie to stream every day for £5.99 a month
- Nautical Channel – The network focused on sailing lifestyle, available live and on-demand for £3.99 a month
- Nordic Noir and Beyond – The best thriller, crime and drama series from the Nordics and beyond for £4.99 a month
- Panna – Easy-to-follow video recipes from master chefs and cooking courses for £1.49 a month
- Pinoy Box Office – Filipino movies and series on demand for £1.99 a month
- Planet Knowledge – Exciting and informative HD documentaries on nature, history, culture and more for £2.29 a month
- Pongalo Next – Latin American movies and series on demand for £2.99 a month
- Qello Concerts – The greatest concert films from icons and new artists like The Who, Queen, The Beatles, Muse and more for £5.99 a month
- Realeyz – Independent films by award-winning filmmakers on demand for £4.99 a month
- Rooster Teeth – Original sci-fi, gaming and comedy for £3.99 a month
- Shudder – Backed by AMC Networks, Shudder super-serves fans of thrillers, suspense, and horror for £4.99 a month
- Studio Universal Classics – Classic movies from Universal Studios for £3.99 a month
- Sweatflix – Stream HIIT workouts and yoga flows for £9.49 a month
- Tastemade Plus – Our network of Tastemakers bring great food and travel to the world for £1.99 a month
- The Great Courses Signature Collection – A curated collection of educational courses On Demand for £5.49 a month
- UP Family – Entertainment for the whole family for £3.49 a month
- Viewster Anime – ad-free anime on demand from Viewster for £2.99 a month
- Yoga Anytime Channel – HD yoga videos on demand for £6.99 a month
To explore the subscription content available to Prime members, visit www.amazon.co.uk/channels.
Along with access to thousands of popular movies and TV episodes through Prime Video, Amazon Channels joins the growing list of benefits for Prime members including unlimited One-Day Delivery, Prime Music, Prime Live Events, Prime Reading, Prime Photos, early access to Lightning Deals and more.
The launch of Amazon Channels in the UK and Germany follows the successful launch of Amazon Channels in the US, which gives Prime members access to over 100 channel subscriptions that can be added to their membership, including HBO, SHOWTIME, STARZ, Cinemax, PBS KIDS, Acorn TV and more, plus Anime Strike and Heera – the first curated on-demand subscription channels by Amazon.