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Amazon Prime Video Signs Distribution Deal With Altice Europe (EXCLUSIVE)

Amazon Prime Video has unveiled its first distribution deal with a telco in France, signing a pact with Altice Europe, which owns leading French internet, mobile and cable-TV provider SFR.

The deal will give SFR customers access to the service via their set-top boxes, which is crucial in France, where households still consume content mostly via that method.

The pact with Altice underscores Amazon Prime’s strategy to ramp up its distribution across Europe through partnerships with key telcos. The service, which rolled out in more than 200 territories in December 2016, hired several business development executives in Europe last year and recently signed deals with British Telecom, Deutsche Telecom, Telecom Italia, Orange Spain, Vodafone, Telefonica and Liberty Global/Virgin media, among others. Beyond Europe, Amazon Prime Video has also been fast-tracking its expansion in territories where digital content consumption is booming, notably in India, where it inked a deal with Tata Sky three months ago.

“Our collaboration with SFR is fantastic news for our customers in France, who will now be able to watch Prime Video on their SFR set-top box with the same remote they use every day, including thousands of movies, TV series and award-winning Amazon Originals,” said Jay Marine, vice president of Amazon Prime Video Europe. He cited such shows as “The Boys,” “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Good Omens” and the French original “Jérôme Commandeur: Tout en douceur.”

Amazon Prime Video will launch on SFR in the coming months and will be accessible on boxes and mobiles across a broad range of packages, including LaBox SFR Fibre, SFR Box Plus and SFR Box 8 set-top boxes. Following the launch on SFR in France, Amazon Prime will roll out on Altice-owned services in Portugal, Israel and Dominican Republic.

Amazon’s slate of anticipated originals includes “Carnival Row,” an American neo-noir fantasy web television series with Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne launching this fall. Upcoming French originals include “Jérôme Commandeur: Tout en douceur” and “Raphael Varane: Destin de Champion” as well as a flurry of scripted projects in development.

Alain Weill, Altice Europe CEO and Altice France chairman and CEO, said the company’s “collaboration with Amazon reinforces [Altice’s] track record of teaming with the best to give our customers unbeatable content.”

“We know our customers want to see their favorite shows and programming on their big screen at home, and our collaboration with streaming services like Amazon continues to make that happen,” Weill said. Amazon and Altice recently collaborated on the launch of Amazon Alexa within SFR Box 8.

Amazon Prime Video is currently negotiating similar deals with other key telco groups in France. Netflix, which bowed in France in September 2014, currently has distribution agreements with Free, Orange, Bouygues and SFR, which all offer Internet, mobile and cable TV services. For Amazon Prime, the discussions with French telcos have taken longer to materialize because Amazon is not only an SVOD service but also includes streaming pay-TV and transactional VOD. Also, unlike Netflix, Amazon also boasts its own devices, such as fireTV, on which users can watch content directly.

In the U.S., Amazon Prime Video is available on the biggest carriers, notably Comcast, and on smart TVs around the world, including on Apple, Samsung, LG, Sony and Xiaomi.

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