retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Amazon yesterday announced another benefit for members of its Prime program ... except that this one is going to cost a little extra money.

Variety reports that Amazon Prime "launched a new initiative called “Streaming Partners Program” Tuesday that allows Prime members to add subscription programming from close to 20 partners for an added fee to their Prime video service. Some of the add-on programming includes Showtime, Starz, the Lifetime Movie Club, AMC’s Shudder and SundanceNow subscription services, Comedy Central’s Standup+ Service, Acorn TV, Dramafever, the Dove Channel, IndieFlix and Ring TV Boxing. Consumers will be able to pick and choose these add-ons on an a la carte basis, and change their lineup month to month."

The story goes on to say that "add-on subscriptions are available through Amazon’s video app on Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Roku, Fire TV and other supported devices, which the company touts as an easier way to consume subscription video services. Consumers can, however, also use their Amazon credentials to log into the stand-alone apps of participating services, which will be good news to anyone looking to stream any of this programming on Chromecast or Apple TV."

And, Variety writes, "at least in some cases, it’s also cheaper: Showtime will be available for just $8.99 a month, compared to the $10.99 a month a user pays when subscribing through Apple’s iTunes store or Google Play."

And the Los Angeles Times described the appeal this way: "The Seattle-based Internet company said video providers would benefit from access to a deep streaming audience and that Amazon would handle all customer service, billing and subscriber acquisition. It said viewers, meanwhile, will get free trials on all subscriptions, the latest episodes of shows available simultaneously with their broadcast and a more convenient way to manage their streaming subscriptions."

This is yet another example of how companies are working to disintermediate traditional businesses, and how the smart ones are embracing the trend as inevitable. Many of us remember how there once was only one way to watch television programming ... but now, there are a seemingly infinite number of sources of product, and choices for consumers to make.

And, it seems to me, every business can to be contemplating the possibility that it can be disintermediated ... and they have to be considering their options.

It can happen to everyone, and anyone. And it is an Eye-Opener.
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