Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report is contemplating adding online channels to its Amazon Prime streaming service, according to three media executives who have met with the online shopping giant's video team. The talks are in the early stages, and no deals are considered imminent.
The Seattle-based company has been adding features to its streaming service, for which consumers pay $99 a year to ship merchandise as well as access to movies and TV shows. In September, it became the first online subscription streaming service to enable its users to also download TV episodes and movies.
Those moves are part of a plan to increase the time consumers spend on Amazon Prime, according to one person with knowledge of the talks. This month the company also introduced a lower priced $49.99 Fire tablet that it said gives its users access to more than 38 million movies, TV shows, songs, books, apps and games.
Media executives say Brad Beale, Amazon's vice-president of digital video content acquisition, is the point person in calls trying to gauge interest in licensing channels that Amazon could offer over-the-top rather than showing content piecemeal through on demand streaming and downloads.
Amazon didn't respond to several emails and phone calls to its media hotline.
Beale negotiated an agreement the two companies announced on Oct. 1 in which Amazon got exclusive streaming rights to three upcoming CBS summer programs. The two companies previously struck a deal by which Amazon streamed episodes of popular programs Under TheDome and Extant just four days after they were broadcast on CBS.
CBS, a leader in licensing its programming to streaming services, this summer struck an agreement with streaming service Hulu to offer its premium channel Showtime for a separate fee.
A CBS spokesman said the company had no comment on negotiations with Amazon.
It's not known what model Amazon is contemplating for its Prime service. One version of a streaming over the top service by Sony (SNE) - Get Report offers consumers in select cities three packages of channels, including a $49.99 a month version that includes major broadcast networks, Time Warner's (TWX) CNN news channel and Comcast's (CMCSA) - Get Report USA and Bravo channels. The Sony Playstation Vue channel also offers a limited number of channels on a stand alone basis.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held positions in CBS AND Comcast