Multiple job listings spotted over the last few weeks suggest that Amazon is looking to add 24/7 live television programming to the popular Prime Video service. Rumors suggest that the new channels may include live news, music, and sports, along with scheduled movies and TV shows. An anonymous industry insider has said that Amazon has been "actively pursuing" deals to license live and linear programming.
Protocol says its source stated that "you should assume they're talking to everybody." Adding live programming to Prime Video would be a major differentiator in a crowded streaming video market. Not only is Prime Video fighting its traditional enemy, Netflix, it's also fighting Disney+, which has been successful in luring tens of millions of subscribers. Live streaming could help set Prime Video apart from those peers.
Amazon may be trying to do something significantly different than other linear TV streaming services, such as Pluto and Xumo. Amazon is possibly looking to combine its current library of on-demand content with a substantially narrower live TV offering with only so-called "must-see" live TV. It's easy to see this happening with specific sporting events like football or basketball games. Amazon has licensed NFL Thursday Night Football in this manner in the past. However, it could also be expanded to cover popular specific television shows.
One of the Amazon job listings noted specifically that global viewing hours are far higher for live and scheduled TV than for on-demand services. Another job listing hints that Amazon is looking to offer fans a 24/7 stream to their favorite TV stations and the programs they air. Another of the listings said that Amazon intends to build a "next gen linear catalog system to provide best-in-class Linear TV experience to Prime Video customers." That particular listing noted that "it's Day 1 for linear TV experience on Prime Video." There is no indication of when Amazon might launch the linear TV service.
In other Prime Video news, Amazon, along with Netflix and YouTube, agreed to streaming quality cuts in Europe in March to help save bandwidth being consumed by people stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic.