Amazon’s branded SVOD launch marks ‘next step’ for Channels

Amazon Channels is being modeled as a complement to traditional pay-TV and a home for niche genres like anime. Image: Amazon.com

Amazon recently announced the launch of its first branded SVOD service within its Channels platform, and the company is thinking of it as part of the next steps in increasing content.

Michael Paull, vice president of digital video for Amazon, said the strategy for Amazon Channels is expanding a bit now that it’s about one year into its launch.

“Our goal is to become a destination for video programming,” said Paull. “We want to have the most possible selections we can have.”

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That strategy is modeling Amazon Channels as a complement to traditional pay-TV and a place where somewhat niche genres like anime, the focus of Amazon’s new channel Anime Strike, can enjoy a more complete representation.

“Anime content is underserved in traditional pay-TV environments and our goal was to make it easy by curating the best content,” Paull said.

RELATED: Amazon launches Anime Strike, its first branded SVOD channel

Anime Strike, available to Prime members in the U.S. for $5/month (after a free seven-day trial), assembles animated series and films. The service will feature more than 1,000 episodes and movies and add new episodes on a weekly basis.

Amazon is staying mum on what other curated SVOD channels it has in the works but does plan to release more for the Channels platform in the future.

But for now, the service is managing to attract programmers looking for additional distribution. On top of featuring currently available OTT services from premium channels like HBO and Showtime, Amazon is working with a bunch of traditional media companies on branded, targeted SVOD services like NBC with comedy-focused Seeso and AMC with horror-focused Shudder.

Paull said that, based on the success Amazon has had with those initial channels, the company is getting a lot of inbound requests from a variety of traditional and new media organizations and channels that are looking to create channels.

Of course, Amazon’s online video focus has been more on its Prime Video service, where the company has been investing billions in original series as well as licensing. In the case of HBO, where its content is licensed to Prime Video and also appears within Amazon Channels, there seems to be potential for conflict. But Paull said he thinks that having the HBO library programming on Prime Video helped signal customer interest in the full HBO service, which is available through Channels, and helped Amazon know how to market it to its customers.

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