Amazon launches Anime Strike, its first branded SVOD channel

Anime Strike landing page on Amazon Channels. Image: Amazon

Amazon today announced Anime Strike, the first curated SVOD service from Amazon Channels.

The service, available to Prime members in the U.S. for $5/month (after a free seven-day trial), throws together animated series and films. According to a news release, the service will feature more than 1,000 episodes and movies, with new episodes added weekly.

Amazon Channels is the a la carte video service for Prime members, which launched in 2015 as the Streaming Partners Program. The service provides access to more than 100 channels including HBO, Showtime, Starz, PBS Kids, Acorn TV, A+E Network, AMC, Cinemax and Seeso.

As Variety points out, Anime Strike is the first Amazon-created subchannel for the service, but Amazon intends to create other channels in the future.

Anime Strike will be going up against similar Anime-focused services like Crunchyroll. But for the 63 million Prime members in the U.S., the $5/month price beats out Crunchyroll’s $7/month charge for its premium unlimited access service.

RELATED: Amazon's global expansion to inflate video budget to $7B in 2017: analyst

While Amazon begins to more actively program content available within its Channels service, a large focus is being placed on Prime Video’s newly announced international expansion plans.

In November, Amazon confirmed that Prime Video would be available now in more than 200 countries and territories. The expansion, coming roughly one year after Netflix unveiled similar international aspirations, could be viewed as Prime Video keeping pace with its SVOD rival. Of course, those plans are likely to force Amazon to sink even more capital into content.

Jefferies analyst Brian Fitzgerald estimated that Amazon’s video content budget for 2016 was between $4 billion and $5 billion, but that the cost of international expansion could drive that total up another $1 billion to $2 billion in 2017.

“That would bring AMZN's annual content expenditure in line with Netflix, which disclosed ~$6B content budget on P&L basis for 2017. AMZN management highlighted on the last earnings call that content was among the top three categories in which the company was, and planned to continue, investing. On the call, CFO Oslavsky said that ‘video content and marketing associated with that’ was nearly doubling Y/Y in 2H16,” Fitzgerald said in a research note.