Comcast customers on its Xfinity X1 set-top platform will be getting access to Amazon Prime Video starting this week, making Comcast the first U.S. pay-TV operator to integrate the ecommerce giant’s video-streaming service.
Prime Video joins Comcast’s collection of third-party entertainment services it provides through X1, including Netflix, YouTube and Tubi, which are integrated into the X1 set-top and search features. Comcast and Amazon announced their pact to bring Prime Video to X1 this summer.
To access Amazon Prime Video, X1 customers must also separately subscribe to Amazon Prime or the Prime Video standalone service. If Comcast subscribers don’t have a Prime account, the X1 service will direct them to a link on Amazon’s site to sign up.
At the end of of the third quarter, Comcast had more than 13 million video customers on X1, representing nearly 65% of its 20.98 million residential video base.
Comcast and Amazon declined to provide financial terms of the deal. Typically in such agreements, an internet content provider pays the distributor partner, with fees based on user acquisition or usage.
Under the pact, Comcast has only limited access to data from the Prime Video app. Amazon will share with Comcast data on Prime Video titles customers watch so they can continue their TV shows and movies on their supported devices and Comcast can suggest other titles they might like.
The Prime Video app on X1 will offer full access to content available to Prime members, including NFL “Thursday Night Football” games and other live video programming, as well as TV shows or movies bought through Amazon. In addition, Comcast subscribers also will be able to watch most of the 150-plus Amazon Prime Channels they subscribe to, including Starz, Showtime and PBS Kids. “The goal is to deliver [Comcast X1] customers the same Prime Video experience they get on any other platform,” said Greg Hart, VP of Amazon Prime Video.
However, HBO, Cinemax and CBS All Access have restricted their channels through Prime Video on Comcast X1 Xfinity devices. That’s because Amazon’s agreements with HBO and CBS disallow access to their programming through third-party providers.
The launch of Prime Video on X1 means, for one thing, Comcast is enabling its customers to rent or purchase VOD titles through Amazon’s competing service as well as premium networks like Starz and Showtime. But that’s not the main point of the deal, Matt Strauss, executive VP of Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable, who added that the cable operator’s customers already have the ability to access numerous over-the-top and transactional VOD services.
“We are very comfortable [with] our business relationship with Amazon,” Strauss said. “We are committed to giving consumers more choice and more value… The value of Amazon Prime Video is providing access to its award-winning series, kids programming, and movies, integrated into the X1 guide.”
The launch of Prime Video on X1 is part of Comcast’s ongoing strategy make the video service a one-stop entertainment hub — on the premise that by integrating it and other services like Netflix will help Comcast retain cable TV customers. “What’s ironic is that in many ways consumers have access to more choices than any other time in history but at the same time there’s a significant amount of complexity. X1 has removed that complexity,” Strauss said. He noted that X1 became the No. 1 platform for Comcast customers’ viewing of Netflix across any platform and device.
Comcast X1 users can access Prime Video titles using the X1 voice-enabled remote. For example, they can say, “Watch ‘The Americans,'” “Show me ‘Sneaky Pete,'” or “Find comedies.” Customers also can launch the Prime Video app by saying “Amazon Prime Video” into the voice remote, or by navigating to the X1 apps menu.
The launch of Prime Video on Comcast X1 arrives just as season 2 “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” the Emmy-winning original series from Amazon Studios, makes its debut on Wednesday (Dec. 5). Hart also noted that holiday classic film “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart is now available exclusively on Prime Video.
Other pay-TV providers that have inked deals with Amazon to offer Prime Video on their services include BT in the U.K. and Deutche Telekom in Germany. In the U.S., Amazon’s Prime membership program is projected to reach nearly 64 million households in the U.S. in 2019, representing 53% of the country’s households, according to research firm eMarketer.