Amazon Prime Video is reported to be “actively pursuing” deals to license live and linear programming, in a move that could set the service apart from its SVOD rivals.

“You should assume they’re talking to everybody,” an industry insider told media company Protocol.

Amazon has already started down this route: since last October viewers have been able to stream live programming from several news networks on its Fire TV devices via a dedicated news app.

But Protocol’s assessment of Amazon’s recent job listings indicates a step-change is coming. One reads: “We … are building next gen linear catalog systems to provide best-in-class Linear TV experience to Prime Video customers ... It is Day 1 for the linear TV experience on Prime Video.”

Not only would a significant shift towards live and linear programming differentiate Amazon Prime from the likes of Netflix and Disney+, it can also be seen as a response to the growing clout of AVOD services like Pluto TV.

As Olivier Jollet, managing director, Europe, for Pluto TV, told the recent Mediatel Future of TV Advertising virtual conference, SVOD may be incredibly popular, “but it’s not the only game in town”.

He claimed that Pluto TV is the largest free streaming television service in the world: after six years live in the US it has accumulated 24 million monthly active users with 250 channels; it launched in Europe at the end of 2018 and now has 100 channels in the UK and 75 in Germany (France, Italy and Spain are on the horizon); in 2020 it launched in 17 Latin America countries.

“We are not digitising the existing TV landscape, we are creating a new one – which means that most of the channels that you see on the Pluto TV platform are channels that our team has been creating,” he said. “We have a unique position in the market.”

That sits somewhere between traditional TV consumption and pure digital consumption, “because we’re a digital product with TV feeling and a TV approach”, he explained.

That’s an appealing platform for advertisers, he suggested, when you consider recent viewing trends (for more details, read WARC’s report: Pluto TV builds an AVOD giant). For example, the completion rate, especially among a hard-to-reach youth audience, is measurable and is very high, he reported.

“All of that together is bringing an amazing power to advertisers, who can extend either their TV budget to a new audience, or extend their digital budget to a more TV-like audience.”

Sourced from Protocol, WARC