Amazon puts the kibosh on bundled streaming TV plan for now

Image credit: Amazon

Remember when Apple reportedly tried to get a TV service off the ground but couldn’t get the networks to play nice? Amazon has been attempting to deliver much the same kind of package lately, but it’s been finding that it’s been running into the same tough combo of industry tradition and poor luck. And for now, at least, it’s discarding plans for a “skinny bundle” of top TV channels, according to Reuters.

More specifically, Amazon reportedly stopped pursuing the deal because such a service simply didn’t look as though it would be profitable with current bundles.

The basic idea behind the project was that customers would be able to pay for Amazon’s own curated bundle of popular channels without having to pay for the less-watched channels that usually come with traditional cable deals. It’s a cool idea, in theory, but the cable industry doesn’t want any part of it, or at least not in the way that companies like Amazon and Apple would have it.

Gettin' crowded in here

Plenty of other “skinny bundles” exist elsewhere, of course, and in fact the market is getting a bit over-saturated with them. Just yesterday we reported on a new one, Philo, that includes only entertainment and educational channels instead of the sports channels that usually make these bundles so expensive. 

Others include Sling TV, Hulu Live TV, PlayStation Vue and AT&T DirecTV Now, and Google has managed to stand apart from Amazon and Apple by carving out its own spot in the woodwork with YouTube TV

For now, Amazon will apparently focus on its growing Amazon Channels service that already offers 140 channels, but the service still has relatively few big-name options. The idea is that you can subscribe to channels like HBO and Showtime through Amazon itself, but it's still not the ideal plan that Amazon would have liked to have had with an all-in-one bundle.

Amazon is also investing heavily into its on-demand content offerings, analysts say, to the tune of around $4.5 billion in this year alone. The service has already had some hits with shows like The Tick and The Man in the High Castle, and earlier this week Amazon announced that it would be making a prequel series set in the Lord of the Rings universe as well.

Much like Apple, Amazon “is willing to wait,” according to sources. They further claim that Amazon is expecting traditional cable TV subscriptions to continue to fall, leading networks to go directly to Amazon and enroll in its Amazon Channels program.

The only question now is how long that wait will be.