Last year Comcast wooed – and won – Netflix and Sling TV, making it easy to stream content from these over-the-top (OTT) services through its X1 set-top box. Bloomberg reports that Amazon Video is open to a similar arrangement.
“Amazon is definitely open to those partnerships and to be fair, we haven’t done as much there as Netflix have done,” Alex Green, managing director of Amazon Video, said last Thursday at the Cable Congress conference in Brussels, according to Bloomberg.
“Amazon, Netflix, other OTT services can easily co-exist with the cable industry, with pay-TV, as we do already,” Green added. “The overlaps are very high between subscribers to high-value pay-TV packages and to subscribers of Netflix and Amazon and other SVOD services.”
Comcast and Amazon are rivals. Comcast caters to a traditional TV and cable viewing audience, while Amazon Video appeals to an audience that either wants to cut the cable cord or to never indulge in the first place. However, a partnership between the two is not unprecedented.
About a year ago, Comcast and Netflix announced a new partnership where Amazon began selling Comcast TV and Internet services through the Amazon Cable Store, says Business Insider. Partnering on a set-top arrangement would be an extension of that relationship, allowing customers to choose one or both of the services from the same marketplace.
In a sense, both companies have become content aggregators of sorts. Comcast, for example, brings together hundreds of network and cable channels as well as access to apps including weather, stocks, horoscopes, Pandora, Netflix and Sling TV, all accessible through the X1 set-top box. Amazon, on the other hand, brings together more than 100 channels through Amazon Channels, including subscription programming available through add-ons (e.g., Showtime, HBO, Starz, Comedy Central Stand-Up Plus, Motor Trend On-Demand and SeeSo).
There is an almost-dizzying array of OTT and SVOD services now available, each with a slightly different twist. Some offerings like Netflix, Hulu and CBS All Access are broad-based, appealing to a wide variety of audiences, while others are niche-based like SeeSo, WWE Network and Motor Trend On-Demand. As more consumers are moving away from traditional cable to become cord cutters, traditional cable companies like Comcast must find ways to retain existing customers and to acquire new ones.
One way to do this is through partnerships that make their product and service mix unique. Comcast can achieve that through allowing an interface on its X1 set-top boxes for apps like Netflix, Sling TV and, maybe someday soon, Amazon. Amazon and Comcast would be smart to build on their existing relationship and leveraging their unique attributes.