“Amazon Cable Store”: Why Amazon is Reselling TV & Internet Bundles Now

Amazon Cable Store

Amazon has begun to sell Comcast Xfinity bundles in a new section called “Amazon Cable Store”. This name, with the subhead “tv internet phone”, hints at more to come.

Variety:

In the last few days the ecommerce company quietly launched an “Amazon Cable Store” section of its website, as first reported by TVPredictions.com.

“Amazon is not only the biggest online retailer and a place where millions of our customers shop every day, but it’s also a brand that’s unrivaled when it comes to customer service,” Charlie Herrin, exec VP of customer experience for Comcast Cable, said in a statement. “Amazon’s new marketplace provides an immersive online destination to showcase our terrific suite of products including Xfinity X1.”

Currently, not all consumers who are in Comcast’s service areas are able to purchase the Xfinity packages as Amazon continues to activate the site across all regions.

Comcast bundles available through Amazon include Xfinity Internet Plus, which offers about 30 local broadcast TV channels and HBO and broadband. Amazon’s pricing for the cable operator’s services is similar to what is available online from Comcast at Xfinity.com. For example, on Amazon, the Starter Triple Play (140-plus channels with DVR, phone and 75-Mbps Internet) is $89.99 per month for the first 12 months with a two-year contract.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed. In such lead-generation deals, the third-party reseller typically receives a fee for each customer who successfully signs up.

This fits with Amazon’s increasing TV ambitions, besides being a nice reseller business.

The company also got an exclusive behind-the-scenes NFL series for Amazon Video.

Amazon’s proposition for customers is also fascinating: dedicated customer service. TechCrunch:

Comcast is often in the news for its poor customer service record, which makes this aspect to the Amazon deal interesting, too. According to the site, Amazon customers who sign up for Comcast’s XFINITY service will have access to a dedicated customer service line where calls are answered with “no waiting” – that is, calls are answered in less than 60 seconds. (Of course, Comcast promises this to other customers, like its Business customers, to less than stellar results at times.)

But it’s notable that this feature is being heavily promoted as a reason to buy through Amazon, and touted as an “exclusive” for Amazon shoppers.

That Amazon might start reselling streaming TV bundles first got rumored in December 2015. First the company started with a way for Amazon users to manage multiple subscription services from a single hub. But unique streaming channel/service bundles are on their way, the rumor went. Back then we looked at possible reasons for this:

Creating and reselling a new TV bundle consisting of streaming providers could eventually become a very lucrative endeavor for Amazon:

  • Amazon essentially becomes a TV cable provider without having to build out the needed cable infrastructure.
  • This would make the Fire TV an even more attractive device, growing the installed base and thus further supporting everything else Amazon will build on the platform.
  • And again, coupling all or parts of this with Amazon Prime gives Amazon a great opportunity to further expand the bundle.

Revenues from this which would not be confined to U.S. only but could be rolled out internationally1, and thus could pretty fast far exceed Amazon’s current digital media revenue; and in the end the whole of its current media revenue.

Combine the selling of traditional TV and streaming into a shop baked into a set-top box (Fire TV) and you’ll probably come pretty close to what Amazon is aiming for here medium-term. From there the possibilities for Amazon on the big screen are rather limitless.

With Comcast’s Xfinity product line Amazon can sell TV, Internet and phone right from the start. The Cable Store, yet another play at “the home”, is something to watch.

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