Amazon’s a la carte video subscription marketplace is doing so well that rivals are now looking at similar approaches. Last month, Bloomberg reported that Apple may sell subscriptions to individual video services through its TV app on iOS and Apple TV, and now sources tell Variety that Roku is planning a subscription video marketplace for its own streaming devices this summer. In both cases, users would be able to sign up for new services without having to download separate apps or re-enter their billing information.
Amazon’s take on a la carte subscriptions, called Channels, launched in late 2015, and now offers 235 channels as add-ons for Amazon Prime subscribers. Those channels get heavy promotion in Amazon’s Prime Video apps and on Fire TV devices, and there’s practically no friction to signing up. A recent survey by The Diffusion Group found that Channels made up 53% of all direct-to-consumer subscriptions for HBO, 72% for Showtime, and 70% for Starz. For those networks, Amazon is providing the kind of distribution that once required a cable box, and in exchange, it’s own Prime service is becoming much harder to quit. It’s no surprise that Apple and Roku are getting envious.