Amazon is reportedly building a live TV component into its Prime Video service as it looks to “redefine how customers watch 24/7 linear broadcast TV content.”
According to Protocol, Amazon is already actively pursuing licensing arrangements for live news, sports and music. The assumption is that Amazon is in discussions with all possible partners. However, it sounds like this won’t be a revival of the company’s previously shelved plans to build a virtual MVPD like Sling TV or YouTube TV.
Instead, Amazon may be looking to bolster its existing video-on-demand service with linear channels similar to what ad-supported streamers like Pluto, Roku and Xumo currently offer.
Amazon has already launched live content on its Prime Video platform. The company has deals in place for live sports including NFL Thursday Night Football and Premier League soccer. Last year, the company launched a customizable news app featuring content from CBS, Bloomberg and others.
Now, as evidenced by several job listings spotted by Protocol, Amazon is assembling a team that can build a more substantial live, linear component for Prime Video.
“Although video on demand is on the rise, the global viewing hours weighs in favor of live or scheduled TV and OTT linear streaming is predicted to grow by 64% in next two years. We in Prime Video Catalog are building next gen linear catalog systems to provide best-in-class Linear TV experience to Prime Video customers. It is Day 1 for the linear TV experience on Prime Video,” the company wrote in one job listing seeking a senior software development engineer.
Amazon is apparently designing as end-to-end customer experience for customers to discover and watch linear TV content including sports, news, movies, award shows, special events and TV shows.
While Amazon may be looking to build more live TV into its Prime Video platform, the company is also working on pushing its Fire TV hardware further into the traditional TV distribution ecosystem. Earlier this year the company introduced a new Fire TV Edition for Operators and said it will provide a customized and cost-effective way for cable operators and telecoms to get Fire TV devices out to their customers. In February, Amazon set a new agreement with NCTC – which represents more than 750 broadband and cable operator members – to allow its members to buy Amazon Fire TV devices – including the Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, and Fire TV Cube – at a discount, and then sell them bundled with pay TV or broadband services to their subscribers.