Amazon Prime TV add-ons just gave the online retailer a major step forward in the fledgling a la carte cable market.
Cord cutters have been dreaming of an option where they can pick and choose the channels they want, and while this new “subscription add-ons” option isn’t going to replace everything — at least not at present — it makes a compelling case for snip-snipping regular cable.
Amazon Prime TV rolled out the offering this week with two huge channel offerings in Starz and Showtime.
Showtime could already be purchased through Hulu, but Starz is breaking new ground in fleeing from cable exclusivity. Both platforms offer everything you could normally get through the live feeds in an on-demand format for just $8.99 per month — much cheaper than the $14.99 HBO NOW offering through Apple.
In addition to Showtime and Starz, Amazon Prime TV is offering a few smaller but well-liked platforms, such as the horror channel Shudder from AMC and the Lifetime Movie Club.
Shudder goes for $4.99 per month while Lifetime Movie Club is a dollar cheaper at $3.99.
Other channel offerings include Tribeca Shortlist (critically acclaimed independent films for $4.99 per month), ACORN TV (well-known British programs at $4.99 per month), Fear Factory (more horror for $2.99 per month), and FlixFling’s Warriors and Gangsters movie channel for $2.99 per month.
While Amazon Prime TV doesn’t have quite the selection you will see through services like Roku, it has managed to land some biggies with the two premium cable services, and it also fills out its lineup with some special interest channels like Gaia (for meditation/yoga), Qello Concerts (for music lovers), The RingTV (for boxing fans), and Dove Channel (for “trusted and safe family entertainment”).
You can explore all channels at this link.
Of course, the implications of this are not good for traditional cable. The industry has been in a state of free fall since services like Netflix and Hulu arose to national prominence.
The only real foothold that cable companies still have is in delivery of high-speed internet and the airing of live sports, and there are options emerging that are beginning to threaten that.
Google Fiber, for instance, is already offered in a number of metropolitan areas, including Kansas City, Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Nashville, Provo, Raleigh-Durham, Salt Lake City, and San Antonio.
The search giant’s high-speed internet option, which delivers speeds of up to 1,000 megabits per second, is also planning rollouts to Oklahoma City, Tampa, Jacksonville, Louisville, Chicago, Phoenix, Portland, San Jose, Irvine, Los Angeles, and San Diego.
If Google Fiber continues to make an impact in major metropolitan markets, it will be easier to get into smaller markets.
Considering that the company only started the project in 2012, it has covered a lot of ground very quickly.
As for live sports, WWE Network, MLS, MLB, NHL, and UFC are already offering their products free and clear of a traditional cable package.
The NFL is still tied to a DirecTV deal, but they’ve also been exploring new options with online content, and in August, 2015, they announced that more people without DirecTV would have the option of streaming the comprehensive NFL Sunday Ticket plan. At $199 to $359 per season, though, it is still a little steep for what casual fans are willing to spend.
With a little finesse, it’s getting easier to jump on board a la carte cable, and with this latest move from the Amazon Prime TV arm, it’s likely to only get easier.
What do you think about the new subscription add-ons and the growing options for cord cutters? Are you ready to say goodbye to your cable company for good, or will you be soon?
Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Amazon, linked above]