Amazon is planning a big change to its Prime Video service. The company is looking to enhance its streaming video offering by adding support for live broadcast TV, bringing it in line with the popular Hulu + Live TV offering.
Whether this will be a global offering or something isolated to the United States isn’t clear at the moment, but it’s definitely happening. Not only did an industry insider tell Protocol that Amazon is “actively pursuing” licencing deals across broadcast media (“you should assume they’re talking to everybody”, the source adds), but Amazon has as good as given the game away with a pretty explicit job listing
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“We in Prime Video Catalog are building next gen linear catalog systems to provide best-in-class Linear TV experience to Prime Video customers,” the listing states which… yeah, couldn’t be much clearer.
But if you wanted an extra hint, another job opening states the company is aiming to “redefine how customers watch 24/7 linear broadcast TV content.” Nothing, apparently, is off limits with the listing highlighting “sports, news, movies, award shows, special events and TV shows.” So everything, basically.
It makes perfect sense. Amazon has already experimented with live sports broadcasts from the US Open to the Premier League – adding Live TV makes keeping a Prime subscription just that bit easier to justify and, crucially, that bit harder to cancel. The more people have Prime, the more people feel obliged to make Amazon their online shop of choice.
Ultimately, that’s what it comes down to, as Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos has pretty candidly admitted before. “When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes,” Bezos told Vox’s Code Conference back in 2016.
“If you look at Prime members, they buy more on Amazon than non-Prime members, and one of the reasons they do that is once they pay their annual fee, they're looking around to see, 'How can I get more value out of the program?' And so they look across more categories — they shop more.”
In short, anything that can get people sticking to an Amazon Prime subscription is good news for the company. And clearly the success of Hulu + Live has given Amazon a big clue that traditional TV will help that aim along nicely.