Amazon adds subscription packages, debuts kids series

As Netflix doubles down on originals, Amazon is making its SVOD offerings more similar to cable with a Streaming Partners program. Amazon Studios, meanwhile, is moving full-steam ahead with its kids originals, launching Just Add Magic on January 15.
December 8, 2015

It looks like Amazon is taking its established retail approach to the category of subscription video – offering its Amazon Prime subscribers a one-stop shop for SVOD services.

Amazon’s new Streaming Partners program will allow users to add subscriptions to other VOD services like those from Showtime, Starz, Lifetime Movie Club, Cinedigm, Smithsonian Earth, DramaFever, Curiosity Stream and more to their Amazon account. The new partner SVOD services range from US$2.99 to US$8.99 per month — which will be billed on top of the Amazon Prime annual fee of US$99.

Amazon will manage all subscriptions, billing and technical services. Users’ additional subscribed content will appear in one central location on their chosen interface.

Michael Paull, VP of digital video at Amazon, says that curated services are key to keeping subscribers happy in a competitive environment.

“Today, when consumers want to watch a show, they must navigate through multiple apps, which requires them to make multiple accounts and requires extra work to find what they want,” says Paull. “At the end of the day, this is about simplicity - there’s no need for multiple apps, no need for multiple bills, it’s all in one place.”

Amazon is not commenting on revenue-share model behind the Streaming Partners program.

Curation, content discovery and organization of content are top of mind for many cable and OTT subscribers, according to Boston-based research firm Altman Vilandrie & Company. A November survey by the firm indicated that 86% of people who use subscription or OTT platforms would like a single app to aggregate video viewing and make it easier for them to find programming they want to watch.

Amazon’s announcement comes as Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos made public the SVOD’s plans to double down on its original programming in 2016, offering a total of 31 scripted shows.(Netflix just recently ordered seven more kids series as part of its Originals program).

And in moving forward with its own slate of originals, Amazon is gearing up to debut its new live-action kids series Just Add Magic January 15 on Prime Video in the US and the UK.

The series, which was greenlit earlier this year, is aimed at kids six to 11 and is based on author Cindy Callaghan’s book of the same name. It follows Kelly and her two best friends Darbie and Hannah, who stumble upon an ancient cookbook with magical recipes in Kelly’s attic. The season sees the trio attempt to use the cookbook to lift a powerful curse from Kelly’s grandmother.

Just Add Magic stars Olivia Sanabia (Extant), Abby Donnelly (Suburgatory), Aubrey Miller (Austin & Ally) and Judah Bellamy (Home). It is being executive produced by Andrew Orenstein (Malcolm in the Middle) and Joe Nussbaum (George Lucas in Love, Awkward), who will also direct.

From Stream. With files from Patrick Callan.



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