Amazon Channels Rolls Out First Curated Subscription, Anime Strike

The Great Passage_anime - H 2017

The $4.99-a-month service will feature titles including 'The Great Passage' and 'Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga.'

A little more than a year after launching its a la carte marketplace for streaming services like HBO Now and NBCUniversal's Seeso, Amazon has created its first curated subscription. 

Anime Strike features Amazon-selected programming all in the adult anime category. For $5 a month, anime fans will be able to watch more than 1,000 movies and TV episodes, including titles such as The Great Passage. The service will also offer some programming on the same day that episodes air in Japan, including Scum's Wish and Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga.

The e-commerce began offering Prime members stand-alone subscriptions via its Amazon Channels in December 2015 and currently has a lineup of about 100 channels that includes over-the-top services HBO, Starz, Showtime as well as online-only services including Seeso, DramaFever and Tastemade. Michael Paull, vp digital video at Amazon, tells The Hollywood Reporter that since the launch, Amazon Prime members have subscribed to "millions of subscriptions" since the service launched. "They're really loving the wide variety of programming we're offering." 

But the program was missing a channel devoted to adult anime. "There wasn't an offering that's been made available in other platforms that would meet our customers' needs," Paull adds. Crunchyroll, an anime service owned by Otter Media, is not currently part of Amazon Channels. 

To create Anime Strike, Amazon executives leveraged its existing licensing agreements for Amazon Video and also acquired new content to create a library that Paull says will refresh on a weekly basis. He says that eventually the service could also feature original content produced via the Amazon Studios arm, which last spring announced a slate of 12 originals, including anime, for Amazon Japan. 

Amazon plans to launch additional branded streaming services in the coming months.