Amazon Brings Showtime, Starz and Other Video Services to Prime As Add-Ons

Amazon Prime Partners Program
Courtesy of Amazon

Amazon’s Prime members just got a new perk: Showtime and Starz, unbundled and cheap. The internet company launched a new initiative called “Streaming Partners Program” Tuesday that allows Prime members to add subscription programming from close to 20 partners for an added fee to their Prime video service.

Some of the add-on programming includes Showtime, Starz, the Lifetime Movie Club, AMC’s Shudder and SundanceNow subscription services, Comedy Central’s Standup+ Service, Acorn TV, Dramafever, the Dove Channel, IndieFlix and Ring TV Boxing. Consumers will be able to pick and choose these add-ons on an a la carte basis, and change their lineup month to month.

It’s the first time that Starz is available to consumers outside of a traditional pay TV bundle; Starz CEO Chris Albrecht has in the past talked about embracing OTT, but the premium network has trailed its competitors HBO and Showtime in launching a standalone service. Albrecht said in a statement that he was excited to be an Amazon launch partner, adding: “This is a terrific product for customers to conveniently navigate their entertainment options quickly, easily and anywhere.”

Add-on subscriptions are available through Amazon’s video app on Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Roku, Fire TV and other supported devices, which the company touts as an easier way to consume subscription video services. Consumers can, however, also use their Amazon credentials to log into the stand-alone apps of participating services, which will be good news to anyone looking to stream any of this programming on Chromecast or Apple TV. Amazon is currently embroiled in a dispute with both companies, and has yet to extend Prime video support to their platforms.

At least in some cases, it’s also cheaper: Showtime will be available for just $8.99 a month, compared to the $10.99 a month a user pays when subscribing through Apple’s iTunes store or Google Play. However, Hulu is also reselling Showtime for $8.99 a month as part of its effort to build a similar a la carte bouquet on top of its existing subscription service.

Amazon has plans to add additional partners to the program in the future, which could include sports and at some point possibly even live programming. Reports about Amazon launching a la carte video subscriptions for Prime members first surfaced last week. At the time, industry sources told Variety that some services had declined to be part of the initiative because they didn’t like the idea of having Amazon handle their customer relationship.

However, that same argument goes both ways, especially for existing TV networks that have long relied on pay-TV operators as middlemen to market and sell their service. A network like Starz, for example, doesn’t have to build out its own billing infrastructure and customer service operations by selling through Amazon. The online retailer even handles all the streaming, taking away the need to strike separate contracts with content delivery networks.

In exchange, Amazon takes a cut of the subscription fees, which likely depends on the size of the provider. Company spokespeople declined to go into details about their contractual relationships with program partners during a briefing with Variety Monday.

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  1. John Cassie says:

    All these people complaining about Amazon. Go run around all weekend from store to store while I hang out with my family and get everything shipped to my door. Long live Amazon!!!!

    • I got rid of cable for two reasons. One: Customer Service , and I use the term quite loosely. Two: Sky high equipment rentals, and then on top of that, user fees. What a joke. For anyone who has dealt with Cable TV companies and Amazon, they know Amazon is like a breath of fresh spring air. For many years now, I’ve used an antenna, Netflix and Amazon Prime. I signed up for Starz, HBO and SHO last month. My only desire now is to see cable TV where they belong-among the also ran, but now out of business companies. I do use TWC for i-net, however as more and more people stream the now available cable shows, expect your i-net service to go through the roof. In NE Ohio we have about 60 free, OTA stations, and with Movie Rentals, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Curiosity Stream, Starz, HBO and SHO. I couldn’t watch it all in a lifetime. And best of all, I no longer need to watch 4 grossly overweight gentlemen run a pawn shop. Thank God for Amazon, and they never once asked for my very personal Social number. Thanks Amazon

  2. Katie Weigle says:

    For the yearly membership of nearly $100 dollars I believe that the add ons should not be a upcharge and if they must I draw the line at paying more than$2.99…like we don’t pay enough for streaming old ass video content and the fantastic 2 day shipping??!!?? Lets we forget about the membership of kindle unlimited going from included to now a $10 membership fee, tf outta here with that for real💯💯💯

  3. The title called it a “perk” and “cheap”. While it’s a baby-step in the right direction, it’s still not consumer friendly enough for most of us. Why would I pay the same amount for one channel as I do for Amazon and Netflix?? And you have to take in account that people can download shows for free. You have to make it low cost and convenient. Make every TV show ten cents and every movie a dollar and no one will steal and you’ll have millions of paying, happy customers.

  4. Dan says:

    So is it $8.99/mo(or$108/year) in addition to the $99/year for Amazon Prime?

  5. hiramanan says:

    No u cannot! I have added Starz Play to my Prime account. However if u go to the Starz Play app there is no provision to sign in with your Amazon account. It only allows select cable providers.

  6. Pam Whitaker-Lee says:

    This is great and long over due! The Cable companies charge several dollars more for the same service. I look forward to seeing more programming available like the Hallmark Channel, etc.

    • Amy Gurley says:

      I get basic cable through Comcast (no other choice), when I try to cancel it they want to charge me more for my internet due to it not being “bundled” so I really can’t dump it.

    • snworf says:

      Sort of — by the time you subscribe to all the ala carte services you want, it’s not a whole lot different than a monthly cable bill :-(

  7. Elizabeth Mish says:

    Nowhere did you mention the cost of this program. Unsubscribe me now as I am elderly and on a very fixed income. I can’t afford this and I will pay no bills for suc.

  8. benjitek says:

    I’ve subscribed via Prime to a couple, AcornTV and Starz — and neither have the option to login using my Amazon credentials outside of Amazon Video — something this article mentions as being possible. Not at the websites or within apps. Is this something that’s coming, or just wasn’t fully researched?

  9. slfisher says:

    Starz just made a whole lot of rabid Outlander fans very happy.

  10. Julie says:

    Hallelujah!!!

  11. Robert McCabe says:

    Amazon is now in the business of banning books as a book written by a US Marine, Nobody Died at Sandy Hook,demonstrates.I can’t imagine being involved with Communist organization,Amazon.

    • Theo Frees says:

      I don’t think you understand what “banning” means. When a store decides not to carry your product, they aren’t banning your product. That’s extremely disingenuous for you to say.

      • Mary Donahue says:

        Refusing to carry a product isn’t banning; I’m guessing because the book would be so unbelievably hurtful to the families of the children butchered by a maniac. I’m pleased Amazon wont’ carry it.

    • PG says:

      …why would you even care about STARZ or SHOWTIME..? Do they do a lot of programming you’d be interested in..?

    • MatisyahuSerious says:

      and yet they allow hundreds of books which still state we landed on the moon and 9/11 was an act of terrorism. get your sh*t together, amazon!

  12. scottwilkins says:

    Awesome move. Except the data limits how imposed on land lines by providers will probably make this less appealing, which is their intent, to keep you on the cable service, rather than cutting the cord. I hope the FTC does something about this anti-competitive practice soon.

  13. John says:

    “At the time, industry sources told Variety that some services had declined to be part of the initiative because they didn’t like the idea of having Amazon handle their customer relationship.” Right, a company with incredible customer support, why would the other companies want Amazon to handle that?

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