Amazon adds live TV channels to Prime Video

Netflix's standard video on-demand service costs £7.49 a month while Sky's cheapest package of channels is £22.

In the United Kingdom some of the channels will include: Discovery, Eurosport, ITV Hub, MGM, Shudder and Comic Con HQ. Beyond free-to-air services, the addition of Discovery's channels is hugely significant.

Simon Pitts, ITV managing director, online, pay and interactive, said: "The ITV Hub is all about giving viewers more choice about how and when they access their favorite ITV shows, including watching without the ads via ITV Hub+ for £3.99 per month".

However a number of the UK's major broadcasters have declined to join Amazon's service.

The channels in the United Kingdom include Discovery Channel, Discovery, MGM, Shudder, Comic Con HQ, Eurosport Player and ITV Hub+, plus Amazon's own Bollywood channel, Heera, and in Germany Syfy Horror, GEO Television, Cirkus, Motorvision TV, Fix&Foxi and others.

There will also be films from providers including the UK's British Film Institute and Hollywood studio MGM, which has movies such as The Hobbit.

"This move represents a massive broadening of content", said Richard Broughton, an analyst at Ampere.

Amazon Channels launched in the USA previous year.

"It is day one and we think that this will grow and grow", he said. The channels ca be added by Amazon Prime members, who pay £79 ($102.53) a year.

Most of the mainstream channels on the service, such as Discovery, will be priced at about £4.99.

The price of the channels range from £1.49 to £9.99 a month, with subscribers choosing and paying for individual services, rather than for a bundle as with the traditional pay-TV model used by Sky.

The e-commerce giant struck United Kingdom carriage deals with the likes of ITV, NBCUniversal and Discovery to offer various live and on-demand channels, including ITV Hub Plus, NBC's reality TV streaming service Hayu, Discovery Channel and Discovery's Eurosport Player.

The move signals another step in Amazon's UK TV ambitions following its heavy spending on The Grand Tour, its exclusive vehicle show fronted by the former BBC Top Gear presenting team. "The a la carte model has been tried a few times in the pay-TV market before".

"Often people say they are subscribed to a big TV package but don't watch a lot of the channels", he told the BBC.

  • Carolyn Briggs