About a year and a half ago, Amazons Prime started promoting subscriptions ranging from the well-known HBO and Starz to niche services like Gaia and Acorn TV, along with its own offerings including the award-winning comedy Transparent. Now the worlds largest online retailer said their Amazon Channels program will expand to the U.K., Germany and Austria with 25 to 42 live and on-demand channels from its partners.
We very much see this as the start of something big, something new for our service, Alex Green, managing director of Amazon Video, said in an interview. The U.S. channels project has done very well for us.
Theres a lot of great content our partners are developing, and we wanted to make it available to customers, Richard Au, director of Amazons U.S. video channels, said in an interview. We are really surprised, but happy with what were doing. Its helping drive people to use our service more.
It seems that Amazon is not the only one happy with Amazon Channels.
They have scale like nobody else, said Charley Humbard, chief executive officer of Up Entertainment, a cable programmer whose Up: Faith & Family will be part of the U.K. streaming initiative. Their power is in their relationships with Prime members. They know what Prime members buy, how they behave. Theyve created a platform that works.
They are spectacular at finding an audience, finding targets and selling into it, said Jeffrey Hirsch, chief operating officer of Starz, another participant.
The Amazon Channels was so successful that it led Amazon to put off efforts to launch its own live TV service, according to Bloomberg. Amazon has told potential partners in the live TV deal that its engineers must first build out the channels program, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.
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