Amazon has taken one step closer to becoming a traditional cable company with the launch of its new “partners program” that will allow you to add premium subscriptions like Showtime and Starz to your Amazon Prime account.
The update will give Prime users the ability to add over 30 over-the-top options, and create their own personal bundles. Subscriptions for Showtime and Starz will cost $8.99 per month to add to your account.
While this seems to put Amazon into more direct competition with cable companies like Comcast or even DirecTV, it isn’t necessarily a new business model — just new for Amazon. Hulu has offered Showtime as an ad-on to its service since July. But Amazon’s offerings are much more expansive, and show a significant break in direction from Netflix.
Both Netflix and Amazon have been focusing on original content. Amazon won five Emmys for its show “Transparent,” and recently released a new series, “The Man in the High Castle,” to positive critical reception. And Netflix revealed that it will drastically ramp up its original content by producing 31 scripted shows next year, up from 16 this year.
With Netflix pouring so many resources into original content, Amazon seems to believe it can differentiate itself with a different metric: convenience. “As the streaming ecosystem is evolving, our view is that there’s a lack of convenience for consumers,” Amazon VP of digital video Michael Pauls told The Hollywood Reporter. “We think it’s too complicated having all these disparate apps with different user experiences and content selection, so we wanted to create something that will be seamless and simple for those who want to have an over-the-top streaming experience.”
While Netflix seems to be trying to build itself into a super-sized version of HBO, Amazon’s play is to make itself into a content hub that can integrate all other over-the-top streaming services into itself.
Pauls declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter about how exactly Amazon plans to split revenue the likes of Showtime or Starz.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.