LAS VEGAS - Pay-TV companies closely watching Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) attempt to become yet another bundler of video channels take heed: The e-tail giant's five-month-old "Streaming Partners Program" initiative is now working with 30 third-party streaming partners, and is about to launch the NBC comedy SVOD platform Seeso.
Speaking at NAB, Amazon VP of Digital Video Michael Paull, who heads the initiative, said partners such as the History Channel and Comedy Central are being lured by Amazon's built-out streaming technology.
"We've already made the massive investment to get entry to all devices," Paull said.
Streaming providers are also being enticed by having Amazon handle their billing and customer outreach, he added.
"We already have the credit card on file," Paull said. "Getting people to give up their credit cards to so many different services is hard."
Thirdly — and perhaps most important to a pay-TV industry fighting forces including the FCC to hold onto its own set-top data — Paull said programmers are attracted to Amazon's extensive data on its customers' viewing habits.
"Just because show has a 18-34 male demographic doesn't mean a 40-year-old woman isn't interested," he explained. "We have the consumption data."
This data is used, he says, to target individual users based on their viewing habits. It was used to great success recently by Starz, Paull said, for the second season launch of original series Outlander.
Paull added that Amazon is seeking out the 20 million U.S. broadband users who don't subscribe to pay-TV — a growing group that the pay-TV industry itself is targeting with IP-based services like Sling TV.
Paull was speaking a day after Amazon disconnected its SVOD service from its broader "Prime" platform. Consumers will be able to subscribe to Amazon Video as a standalone SVOD service now for $8.99 a month.
Paull said the move was not made specifically to target Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) just as the SVOD market leader raised its average monthly rate to $9.99 a month.
"The rationale is providing customers choice, not so much worrying about what Netflix is doing," he said.
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