Amazon’s claim to the streaming throne may have just gotten a little stronger.
The Seattle retail giant this morning announced the ability for Prime members to add premium channels HBO and Cinemax to their streaming catalog for a monthly fee via Amazon Video’s Channels feature. Amazon previously added other networks like Starz and Showtime, giving people who want premium channels to watch their favorite shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld an alternative to pricey cable packages or having to manage a deluge of network apps.
HBO was already available without a cable subscription for $14.99 a month, the same price you’d pay to add it on Amazon. Cinemax — $9.99 a month on Amazon — could previously be had through a subscription to Sling TV. But Amazon is betting that the new channels will be an added incentive for people to subscribe to its Prime membership program. It also allows people to stay within the Amazon Video ecosystem when flipping between channels rather than having to cycle through multiple apps.
It’s a good time to be a cord cutter, as the battle for streaming supremacy has caused companies to seriously raise their game. Netflix continues to lead the way, and its global expansion earlier this year shows how serious it is about worldwide domination. Netflix’s app recently popped up on Comcast X1 set-top boxes, following a deal in July between the two rivals. And just this week, Netflix announced the ability to download programs directly, a feature Amazon instituted last year.
But Amazon itself is planning a global expansion, and it continues to add new programs and features all the time. Taking aim squarely at Netflix, Amazon in April began offering a monthly $8.99 Prime subscription so members could access its video streaming service.
A big new player joined the fray earlier this week as AT&T announced its streaming network DirecTV Now. Just released Wednesday, the app lets people stream some of the top live TV networks, with a focus on mobile devices.