Which cable networks Amazon has added for Prime customers and what that means for TV

Programming by Showtime and Starz will now be available to Amazon Prime customers. Starz making their programming available outside of a cable package makes the network the newest in a long line of networks finding a way to bring their content to streaming platforms.

Ed Miller/Sony Pictures Television/AP
The Starz program 'Outlander' stars Sam Heughan (l.) and Caitriona Balfe (r.).

More options than ever are available for TV fans who don’t want to pay for a traditional cable package.

Amazon has announced that members of their subscription Prime service will now be able to access the content produced by such premium cable channels as Showtime and Starz, in addition to the content from HBO already on the service.

And the move makes Starz the latest cable network to become available to so-called “cord-cutters.”

Like rival HBO, Showtime had already launched a stand-alone streaming service to which users can subscribe without buying a cable package.

Showtime produces such acclaimed programming as “Homeland” and “The Affair,” while Starz is the home of shows like “Outlander” and “Flesh and Bone.”

Networks are getting in on stand-alone services, too. CBS has launched CBS All Access, which is based on the same idea. The network announced that it’s planning a new “Star Trek” series that will air on CBS All Access. Meanwhile, NBC is planning a streaming service called Seeso that will center on the network’s comedy, including original shows. NBC was home to such ‘90s hits as “Seinfeld” and “Friends” and more recently was the hub for programs like “The Office,” “30 Rock,” and “Parks and Recreation.”

AMC is one of the few acclaimed TV destinations that has not yet launched a stand-alone streaming service. Their programs “Better Call Saul” and “Mad Men” and PBS’s “Downton Abbey” are the only nominees for last year’s best drama Emmy that cannot be watched online. The rest came from Netflix, Showtime, or HBO, all of which TV fans can now watch without owning a traditional TV.

It seems inevitable that just about every broadcast or cable network would begin exploring some kind of streaming stand-alone option, particularly if efforts like CBS’s All Access original programming succeed.

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