BT has become the first major UK premium TV provider to offer direct access to Amazon’s Prime Video streaming library through its set top box.
Starting this week the Prime Video app will appear on BT-connected sets next to Netflix, NowTV, and BBC iPlayer apps, giving BT customers access to Amazon’s growing catalogue of films and original series including Top Gear reboot The Grand Tour and Golden Globe-winning The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Viewers will still need an Amazon Prime subscription, which runs at £7.99 a month or £79.00 a year and also offers cheaper and faster deliveries and a music streaming service. New customers can subscribe directly through BT, with the cost added to their monthly TV bill.
Amazon has become a power player in prestige web TV and video streaming, now boasting a catalogue of nearly 2,000 TV programmes and more than 18,000 movies—making its library four times the size of Netflix’, although some require additional fees for purchase and rental. But plenty of content is free with a Prime subscription, including original content like groundbreaking comedy Transparent and the atmospheric alternative-history The Man in the High Castle. And expect more lavish TV productions as Amazon competes for viewers with internet TV rivals Netflix and Hulu. Amazon is reportedly splashing out more than $5 billion on video content this year, mostly on big-budget TV productions and sports rights.
Amazon recently acquired the rights to live Premier League matches, starting from the 2019/2020 season, making the union of BT and Prime especially welcome to sports fans. BT subscribers who also subscribe to BT Sport will have access to Amazon’s games through their set-top box.
“BT TV gives our customers the flexibility they want to watch all their favourite shows – and of course all the sport – in one place and on one bill,” said Tony Singh, content and business development director for BT's Consumer division.
The move is part of BT Sport’s commitment to increase viewing options for football fans, which last month saw the free streaming of the Champions League final on the BT Sport app, the BT Sport website, and YouTube.
“We want Prime members to be able to watch all their favourite content when they want, on any device they want,” said Brett Ballbach, Business Development Director for Prime Video Europe.
Prime Video is being rolled out to BT sets starting this week although reportedly those with Youview+ Ultra HD boxes will have to wait until later in the summer for access.
BT’s partnership with Amazon follows Virgin’s recent decision to integrate Netflix subscriptions into customers’ monthly bills. Previously customers had access to Netflix through their Virgin sets but were billed separately. Meanwhile Sky’s Sky Q platform offers fully-integrated access to all Netflix content, searchable via text and voice. As TV providers partner with streaming services, customers can expect to see more comprehensive libraries of content, all in one place and often on a single monthly bill.
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