Amazon Channels has launched in the U.K. and Germany with digital nets from Discovery, ITV, NBCU and RTL. The e-commerce giant already has streaming service Prime Video, and the Channels rollout means it now offers a full pay-TV service in the U.K. and Germany, upping the ante against Sky, the largest pay-TV operator in both countries.
The Channels service is available to Amazon’s Prime subscribers and allows them to build an a la carte package, paying only for the channels they select, rather than the traditional pay-TV bundle.
Major players offering channels on the U.K. service include Discovery, which will offer the core Discovery channel as well as its Eurosport Player premium streaming service. ITV Hub+, the British broadcaster’s catchup and ad-free service, is available on Amazon Channels, as is NBCUniversal’s reality-TV streaming service Hayu.
Film services are represented by MGM, BFI Player+, Filmboc and Mubi, plus niche offerings such as Muslim film net Alchemiya, Amazon’s own Bollywood channel Heera, and Filipino service Pinoy Box Office. There are a host of fitness and well-being nets, and other channels such as Comic Con HQ, Love Nature, and John Hendricks’ Curiosity Stream. Kids’ services include Sony-backed Hopster and Ketchup TV.
The 25-strong German lineup includes three NBCU nets: E! Entertainment, Studio Universal Classics, and Syfy. Tele Munchen’s movie net Filmtastic is also there, as is RTL’s docs channel Geo.
Analysts said that Amazon Channels is unlikely to trouble Sky, at least initially. “Amazon Channels in the U.K. is very different to the U.S.,” said Tony Gunnarsson, a principal analyst at London-based consultancy Ovum. “In the U.S. there is HBO, Showtime, and Starz, but they’re not on the U.K. version, where the immediately notable channels are Discovery and Eurosport. The question is whether Amazon will go after the likes of HBO and Showtime in the U.K., but that would involve huge sums of money.”
Amazon Prime customers can watch the linear channels on the new service live and on-demand and are not locked into annual subscriptions. To access Channels, consumers need a Prime subscription, which is £7.99 ($10.40) per month or £79 a year in the U.K., or a Prime Video monthly subscription, which is £5.99.