Cordcutters rejoice! You can now subscribe to your favorite extended cable channels through Amazon Prime.
The 30 partnerships revealed today are comprised of mostly niche-oriented content, from international and indie fare to horror and boxing, not to mention a whole slew of documentary options. There's something in here for everyone - though most of the "everyones" will be looking at Amazon's two big fish, Showtime and Starz.
Showtime and Starz are by far the most compelling partnerships on offer, promising access to current and even simulcast programming with a large built-in following (like Homeland, The Affair, and Outlander), as well as newer popular movie releases (like Guardians of the Galaxy, Big Hero 6, and Boyhood). Each costs $8.99/month after a 7-day free trial.
It's definitely worth noting that Showtime is also available as a standalone streaming service for $10.99/month, but if you already have a Prime account, then subscribing through Amazon is a better deal by $2.
Corralling these streaming services under the Prime umbrella is a rather genius movie for Amazon. Members can subscribe and unsubscribe to streaming channels at will, and there's only one credit card profile to manage. Plus, Amazon manages here something that I've longed to see on Roku for quite awhile now: A single cross-platform watchlist. Kudos to that.
And it looks like there's some seriously good stuff to watch, even on the niche channels you've never heard of. Our first draft of this list was crazy long, and paring it down to just six was really hard.
Arguably the biggest draw on Amazon's streaming roster, Homeland puts war, foreign diplomacy, depression, and romance inside the CIA and given a vigorous shake. The result is incendiary. It's an interesting chemistry experiment, equal parts soap opera and spy flick, and not without its controversies.
The Affair (Showtime)
Possibly the best show you've never heard of. Mention it to a few friends and inevitably one of them will start gushing about how good it is. It's never quite caught fire the way Homeland did, and airing only on an extended cable add-on (until now) hasn't helped much. But we expect to see more buzz emerge as it's more widely available thanks to Showtime's standalone service and its partnership with Amazon.
If even great programming on Showtime can be a bit obscure to some, then Starz is probably even moreso. But Outlander has a lot of devoted followers among those who know about it, earning an impressive 8.5 out of 10 stars on IMDB from a lot more reviewers than you'd have imagined. Based on a woman from 1945 who suddenly and mysteriously finds herself living in 1743, the premise is both preposterous and enticing.
Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff (Comedy Central Stand-Up)
Amy Schumer is Hollywood's latest favorite funny girl, not to mention an emerging feminist icon, and you can expect her stand-up special, "Mostly Sex Stuff" to be a NSFW riot.
Ghost in the Shell (CONtv)
All anime paths eventually lead to Ghost in the Shell, a masterpiece of Japanese animation and storytelling. We found it available on CONtv, a streaming channel devoted entirely to ComicCon and things that its fans would love. It's a nerdy little paradise.
A Cat in Paris (Cinefest)
This cat is a housepet by day, and a cat burglar by night, roaming the streets and rooftops of Paris in this stylishly animated Oscar nominated picture. It's a great pick for the kids, and adults who yearn for Paris will be delighted by familiar landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral.
There's a ton more to explore. All partnerships get a 7-day free trial, so plunder away!
Here's a list of every streaming partnership as of 12/8/15, along with their monthly subscription fees:
- Showtime - $8.99/month
- Starz - $8.99/month
- Comedy Central Stand-Up Plus - $3.99/month
- Acorn TV - $4.99/month
- Lifetime Movie Club - $3.99/month
- Gaia - $9.95/month
- Qello Concerts - $7.99/month
- Dramafever Instant - $3.99/month
- Shudder - $4.99/month
- CuriosityStream - $5.99/month
- HooplaKidz - $5.99/month
- Screen Junkies - $4.99/month
- CONtv - $4.99/month
- Tribeca Shortlist - $4.99/month
- Sundance Now Doc Club - $6.99/month
- IndieFlix Shorts - $2.99/month
- Film Forum - $2.99/month
- Cinefest - $4.99/month
- Smithsonian Earth - $3.99/month
- NatureVision TV - $2.99/month
- Docurama - $4.99/month
- Daring Docs - $2.99/month
- Dox - $2.99/month
- AcaciaTV - $6.99/month
- The Ring TV - $2.99/month
- Dove Channel - $4.99/month
- UMC Urban Movie Channel - $4.99/month
- Monsters and Nightmares - $2.99/month
- Fear Factory - $2.99/month
- Warriors & Gangsters - $2.99/month
Amazon Prime memberships are $99 annually, and come with a ton of benefits from free 2-day shipping on eligible items, Amazon's video content including award winning original series like Transparent, early access to lightning deals, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, and tons more. You can check it all out for free with a 30-day free trial.
This article first appeared in Brad's Deals.