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Amazon bets on live TV and sports with ITV, Discovery deal

Amazon takes fight to Sky and Netflix with addition of 40 new channels

Competition between Amazon, Netflix and Sky is hotting up with the former signing deals with TV networks Discovery, ITV and Hayu to offer live TV and sports on its video platform for the first time in Europe.

For the launch of Amazon Channels, the streaming service will add more than 40 TV channels in the UK, offering Prime subscribers a mix of live and on-demand content.

As part of its deal with Discovery Networks, Amazon will live stream premium sports content via Discovery-owned Eurosport, beginning with the French Open, the Grand Slam tennis tournament, and Olympic coverage next year.

Other channels include NBC Universal’s reality TV service Hayu, which has shows such as Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Made in Chelsea and The Real Housewives franchise, and Amazon’s own Bollywood channel Heera.

The channels will be on offer to Amazon Prime customers for an additional cost per channel. It’s a different model than those adopted by pay-TV providers such as Sky, which offer bundle deals for multiple channels.

Prime customers currently pay £79 a year or £7.99 a month to access the on-demand library. The individual pricing for the new channels ranges from £1.49 to £9.49 a month. ITV will offer its live TV and ad-free catch-up service for £3.99.

Despite offering no bundle deals, the price point remains competitive against pay-TV providers such as Sky, which offers its cheapest package of channels at £22 not including Sky Sports.

Alex Green, the managing director of Amazon Channels in Europe, said offering viewers premium TV channels without having to sign up to a bundle or contract “gives them the freedom to pay for only what they want to watch”, putting the power back in the hands of the customer.

“It is day one and we think that this will grow and grow,” he added.

Amazon will also launch 25 channels on its German service this week.

The deal with Discovery marks the first time the network has signed a major streaming deal in the UK, and follows a period of uncertainty at the network after it threatened to pull its channels from Sky over a price dispute.

Susanna Dinnage, president of Discovery Networks UK and chief content officer, International, said: "This partnership underlines our strategic ambition to reach every person across every service and every screen."

Amazon has already branched out into the UK live music scene in a bid to court subscribers, offering access to exclusive gigs as a way of attracting new customers to its services.

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