On Demand Summit 2016: Amazon’s Streaming Partners Program Clicking With Content Makers, Consumers

Amazon’s Michael Paull says data also pumps power into digital video services
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New York -- Amazon’s Streaming Partners Program, an  initiative launched last year for the company’s popular Prime service, has been a hit with consumers and content partners that are filling it with specialized SVOD-OTT services as the offering nears its first year on the market.

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“The demand has been incredible,” Michael Paull, vice president, digital video at Amazon, said in a keynote conversation here Thursday at the Multichannel News/Broadcasting & CableOn Demand conference. “It’s been a great year.”

Amazon launched the program in December 2015, offering easy access to a wide range of SVOD services from partners such as Showtime, Starz and Seeso (from NBCU) that is available on top of Amazon Prime. Paull said 75 partners are now on board with the program, which handles key elements such as billing, customer care and the streaming platform that underpins the delivery to a wide range of devices and platforms.

When Amazon approached programmers and other content suppliers about joining the program, Paull acknowledged that the initial conversations were sensitive because they were concerned about how the new offering would respect their brands.

“We have leaned into their brands,” he said, noting that a partner’s brand is front and center when Amazon Prime users search for an SVOD offering or an individual show that’s offered therein.

He said the program has not cannibalized the viewing market, but has helped partners add incremental subs. “As far as we can tell, we’ve grown the market,” Paull said in a discussion with Mark Robichaux, editorial director of Multichannel News and B&C.

Paull discussed how the program, and its integration of billing and provisioning, removes friction from the subscription process, noting that it takes just two clicks for an Amazon Prime user to subscribe to a service, while others need between six to 12 clicks.

“We provide one unified experience that was simple and easy to use,” Paull said, adding that Amazon also brings them a massive audience to market to.

Paull also said Amazon’s access to data, used for the main Amazon offerings, is also being applied to video and helping to connect users with shows and movies they might like – and present that to the right person at the right time.

For example, with the third season of Power, Amazon noticed that a huge part of that audience was also watching similar programing like Empire.

“The more time [viewers] spend with us, the better the connection they will have with us, and that will allow us to serve all their needs,” Paull said.

As for what’s on the horizon, expect Amazon, which has been rumored to be pursuing live TV rights for its OTT platform, to continue to expand on the video options it makes available on its platform.

Amazon, Paull said, is looking to offer “a complete digital video experience.”

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