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Amazon Launches Anime Channel for $5 Per Month, Its First Branded Subscription Channel

Ecommerce giant plans additional subscription VOD channels

Amazon is rolling out its first branded on-demand subscription service for Amazon Channels: Anime Strike, offering more than 1,000 series episodes and movies ranging from classic titles to current shows broadcast on Japanese TV.

The Anime Strike channel is available to U.S. Amazon Prime members for $4.99 per month after a seven-day free trial, the newest addition to the lineup of around 100 services now available in Amazon Channels.

The ad-free programming on Amazon’s Anime Strike includes recent series like “The Great Passage”; same-day-as-broadcast series from Japan including “Scum’s Wish” (“Kuzu no Honkai”) and “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga” (“Ao No Exorcist: Kyoto Fujouou-hen”); and older anime hits like “Paprika,” “Tokyo Godfathers” and “Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS.” Content on the channel will be refreshed weekly, Amazon says.

“With anime in particular, there’s a strong, passionate audience that is underserved by traditional pay TV,” said Michael Paull, Amazon’s VP of digital video and head of Amazon Channels worldwide.

Amazon has struck exclusive U.S. streaming deals for several series on Anime Strike, including “Scum’s Wish,” “Onihei,” “The Great Passage,” “Vivid Strike!,” “Crayon-Shin Chan Gaiden: Alien vs. Shinnosuke,” and “Chi’s Sweet Adventure.”

In the coming months, Amazon plans to launch additional branded subscription VOD channels, according to Paull, but he wouldn’t say what genres those will cover. For now, Anime Strike is available only to Prime members in the U.S.

Other U.S. online distributors of anime programming include Funimation and Crunchyroll, which is owned by AT&T-Chernin Group’s Otter Media.

Amazon’s Anime Strike is being programmed with a mix of adult-themed, romance and action titles designed to appeal across all age ranges, said Paull. “We tend to focus on our customers and their needs, and our big difference is that we’re using the data we have as Amazon to know the type of programming that would excite our audience,” he said.

Amazon Channels, launched late 2015 as the Streaming Partners program, offers 100 add-on video subscription services for Prime members. Channels include HBO and Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, Acorn TV, NBCUniversal’s Seeso, Machinima, Warner Bros.’ DramaFever, Tribeca Shortlist, Cinedigm’s Dove Channel, Comedy Central’s Stand-Up Plus, PBS Kids, Fandor and Outside TV.

Pictured above: “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga”

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