Amazon’s a la carte TV subscription service, Amazon Channels, just added another big name to its lineup. Today, Amazon and CBS announced that CBS’s over-the-top streaming service, CBS All Access – yes, the home to the new “Star Trek” – will now be available on Amazon Channels. However, only the higher-priced, $9.99/month commercial-free subscription will be offered for the time being. The lower-cost, $5.99/month Limited Commercials plan will arrive in the “coming months,” CBS said.
Amazon Channels first launched in the U.S. back in 2015 as the less-catchy “Amazon Streaming Partners.” It later rebranded and expanded to select European markets last year.
The goal with the service – which today is exclusive to Prime subscribers and Prime Video members – is to offer premium programming options as a complement to Amazon Prime Video. The service is aimed at cord cutters who don’t want to buy one of the newer TV subscription services which bundle many channels together, but instead want to build their own lineup.
The current U.S. lineup of over 140 channels includes popular paid subscriptions, like HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, PBS Kids, Sundance Now, and others. It also offers a larger selection of channels aimed at niche audiences – like those featuring lifestyle content, workout and health videos, educational content, horror movies, and more.
At one point, Amazon toyed with the idea of bundling channels to offer its own “skinny bundle” of TV programming to rival Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV and others, but struggled to make deals with the broadcast and cable TV networks. As a result, the company decided to make Amazon Channels’ a la carte programming its main focus going forward. But this move also meant Amazon Channels was lacking in broadcast network content.
With the addition of CBS All Access the channel lineup gets another big draw, thanks to CBS’ current popularity due to its original, streaming-only series, “Star Trek: Discovery,” along with other originals like “The Good Fight” (a “The Good Wife” spinoff), “No Activity,” and more to come, like “$1,” “Strange Angel,” and a new “The Twilight Zone.” The subscription also includes CBS’s back catalog, current broadcast programming, and access to live TV streams in select markets.
The latter is especially important to football fans, as it means access to the NFL on CBS. Live streams also are useful for watching live events, like “The 60th Annual Grammy Awards.”
For CBS, the Amazon deal means access to a broader audience and support for a range of devices via the Prime Video app. The company says Prime members in the U.S. will be able to watch CBS All Access on more than 600 devices via Prime Video’s app for TVs, game consoles, set-top boxes, including Apple TV, and connected devices, including Amazon Fire TV, mobile devices and the web.