Amazon Prime will now stream Showtime and Starz

How the heck does Amazon make money?
How the heck does Amazon make money?

Through Amazon Prime, you can now subscribe to more than a dozen streaming TV channels like Showtime and Starz.

Amazon officially launched its "Streaming Partners Program" on Tuesday, making its Amazon Video home page a one-stop-shop for streaming subscriptions.

The Showtime and Starz premium cable channels are two of Amazon's launch partners, along with a number of niche streaming services.

Some analysts have called this concept "rebundling." While some individual channels like Starz are now available outside the traditional cable TV bundle, there comes a point when someone needs to organize all those individual subscriptions.

Amazon (AMZN) is trying to be that someone.

One of Amazon's online video rivals, Hulu, has also explored a similar set-up. Hulu subscribers can add Showtime to their packages for a monthly fee.

In the Amazon arrangement, Amazon is responsible for handling payments, customer service and the actual streaming infrastructure.

The financial terms of the partnerships are confidential, but Amazon will likely take a cut of the outside subscriptions it supports.

Tuesday's announcement might help Amazon sell more of its streaming TV devices ahead of the Christmas holiday.

It might also help make Amazon Prime customers more aware of the panoply of new streaming video channels that are seeking subscribers.

Some of the services now available through Amazon are the Lifetime Movie Club, the SundanceNow documentary channel, DramaFever Instant, Smithsonian's Earth channel, Curiosity Stream, and other ones for genres like horror movies. These are all mini versions of Netflix, but getting the attention (and credit cards) of customers is difficult.

Amazon vice president of digital video Michael Paull said "we're making it easy for video providers to reach highly engaged Prime members, many of whom are already frequent streamers, and we're making it easier for viewers to watch their favorite shows and channels."


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