Amazon announces integrated add-on subscriptions for Prime Video viewers

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Amazon on Tuesday unveiled the Streaming Partners Program, which — at extra cost — will allow Prime Video subscribers to add streaming services that are normally hosted separately.

Early partners include AMC, Showtime, Starz, Ring TV Boxing, and A+E Network. In some cases at least, paying through Amazon will be cheaper than choosing a standalone subscription. Showtime for instance costs $8.99 per month from Amazon, $2 less than an independent plan.

The lower cost is likely possible because Amazon is handling tasks like customer service and billing, as well as routing streams through its own infrastructure.

Although customers have to pay extra on top of Prime, which is $99 a year, advantages include universal search, X-Ray support, unified playlists and watchlists, and voice search on Fire TV devices.

Amazon is believed to be on the verge of releasing a tvOS app for Prime Video. If so, that could create an unusual situation where the Video app serves as its own hub on the Apple TV. It might also draw viewers away from other App Store titles, and eat into Apple's revenue take, depending on whether in-app purchases are supported. If not, users would be paying only via the Web or other devices, cutting Apple out of the loop entirely.