Amazon added a new feature to its German Prime subscription: a number of linear channels are now available free of charge on the Prime video platform.
So far the offer is limited to content from German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF. Even if both broadcasters together boast a 28-channels roster, they are not enough to constitute a complete linear offering comparable to those pay TV operators propose, or even to what is available with free DTH reception.
It is easy to see why they are the first broadcasters to appear on Prime: they are forbidden by law to request retransmission fees, and as public broadcasters their goal is to be available as widely as possible. On the other hand, private broadcasters might ask for compensation and would not be as eager to appear on Prime, given that the most of them already deployed their own OTT linear offering.
This being said, Amazon paying for private channels to appear on its Prime platform would not be such a surprise anymore: with some of the biggest broadcasters already on Prime and UEFA Champions League rights from 2021/22, Amazon might be on the way to build a credible TV proposition next to its VOD offer, which would certainly bolster the perceived value of the service. This would be a threat not only to other OTT pay TV offerings such as Joyn or TV Now, but above all to FTA television. According to Dataxis figures, Prime Video subscriptions outpaced the number of FTA-only households in Germany during the year 2019.