Amazon Streaming Partners Program Delivers Showtime, Starz Unbundled

Cable subscribers have long dreamed of a la carte service—choosing which channels they want, only paying for those, and leaving the rest behind. With the announcement of Amazon Streaming Partners today, that desire is closer to becoming a reality.

Amazon Streaming Partners allows Amazon Prime members to subscribe to various television networks & other video providers without requiring a contract with a cable or satellite network. Showtime & Starz are the two biggest names involved in the initial offering, and are available to Prime users for just $8.99 per month. Subscribers can cancel at any time, and can view Showtime/Starz content through the website or Amazon Video app.

Image via Amazon

For content providers, Amazon’s Streaming Partners program offers several advantages to their own stand-alone service. For example, Amazon is handling not only the billing and customer service for Partners’ subscriptions, but, theoretically, giving these Partners a built-in audience of some estimated 60-80 million Amazon Prime users globally (around the total number of Netflix subscribers as of last quarter). Given that Prime members are believed to spend a reported double through Amazon than non-members, that’s a veritable wealth of disposable income that may not be currently paying for cable services (or use other stand-alone networks, like HBO NOW).

For Prime members, Streaming Partners is offering discounts on both Showtime & Starz, and as previously mentioned, they can subscribe and unsubscribe as they wish. The latest episodes of both networks’ original content will be made available simultaneously with their live broadcast. Subscribers will also be able to coordinate their Watchlist between available Prime TV & movies and these third-party providers.

Amazon itself is building quite the name for itself in the time of streaming content. Besides for making a deal for all of HBO’s original programming in Spring of last year, the company has begun producing its own unique content, such as the 2014 hit Transparent. Through Amazon Streaming Partners, the company has added even more original programming to the platform, without shelling out a cent in production costs. With Netflix taking the opposite approach to their own lineup, it will be interesting to see which company ends up benefitting the most.