Sky is continuing its Pokemon-like pursuit of major streaming providers by adding Amazon Prime to its European catalogue, alongside Netflix and Disney+, from today.
The tie-up presents key synergies for both, reinforcing Sky as a one-stop-shop for premium television while exposing Amazon Prime to a readymade audience of pay-TV subscribers to court with its offerings.
How closely is Sky embracing Amazon?
Sky customers across Europe will no longer have to exit the pay-TV giant’s ecosystem to obtain their Amazon Prime fix from today with the launch of a dedicated app for Sky Q, Sky Ticket and Now TV devices.
The multi-year alliance will benefit subscribers across the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy – just in time for Christmas bingeing.
Beneficiaries will include Sky Q customers as well as purchasers of Sky Ticket in Germany – a one-off pass granting online sports and entertainment access without an ongoing subscription.
In a reciprocal arrangement, the Now TV app will also be made available on Amazon’s Fire TV devices for the first time, further deepening the combined audience pool.
The pairing means TV addicts will no longer face the inconvenience of switching devices to access content, drawing popular Amazon Original content such as The Grand Tour and Borat Subsequent Movie Film on to the same platform as live Premier League fixtures.
What has been said of the potential ramifications of the partnership?
Stephen van Rooyen, executive vice-president and chief executive UK of Europe Sky, enthused: “Anyone who needs to get stuck into something new after The Undoing on Sky Atlantic will now be able to flip right over to The Boys on Prime Video, without ever leaving Sky Q. Amazon Prime Video TV shows, movies and more will sit alongside Sky Originals and Netflix, as well as apps like Disney+, BBC iPlayer and FiiT.”
Jay Marine, vice-president of Prime Video Worldwide, added: “With winter settling in and our new binge-watch obsession The Wilds about to launch, it’s a perfect time for Sky customers to catch up on our award-winning Prime Video TV shows, movies and live sport, including Prime Video’s exclusive live broadcasts of 20 English Premier League games this December.“
Offering a more detached perspective, Paolo Pescatore, the tech, media and telco analyst at PP Foresight, told The Drum: ”Undoubtedly this is the deal of the year. It seemed unlikely a few years ago but both companies have now realised the importance of partnering in this rapidly changing world. They both need each other more than ever.”
By burying the hatchet, Sky has positioned itself as a singular destination for all the major video streaming services, notes Pescatore, who considers the seamless user experience and all-in-one nature of Sky as a powerful hook for households.
Pescatore added: “The timing could not have been any better with the hectic Premier League Christmas schedule around the corner. Inevitably, this will help Amazon drive Prime subscriptions within Sky households all across Europe.”
How did Sky become best friends with streaming providers?
Historically, pay-TV and streaming providers have been mortal enemies, but in recent years both sides have come to appreciate the value in co-operation, with Netflix the first to make the jump two years ago with its own (recently extended) deal.
Disney+ followed earlier this year with a multi-year partnership of its own throughout the British Isles.
As of April 2018, Sky Q had been installed in 2.5m homes across the UK, Ireland and Italy, with a further 1m subscribers in Germany.
Sky services as a whole are estimated to reach 120 million Europeans.