Amazon has confirmed plans to bring a collection of free TV channels to its Fire TV platform this summer.
Appropriately called Fire TV Channels, this new service was announced during the company’s NewFronts presentation earlier this week. A video featuring beloved television personality Martha Stewart has also been released to promote the news.
Fire TV Channels will compete with similar offerings from rivals such as Roku, and there will be channels covering a range of topics including news, sports, travel, cooking and music. There will also be channels dedicated to classic TV shows. Amazon has confirmed partnership deals with NHL, PGA golf, TMZ, ABC News and Xbox to deliver content for these free channels.
The channels will be available to watch on all Fire TV streaming sticks as well as on any Smart TV with the streaming OS built-in. Naturally, these channels will be ad-supported, and as noted, will begin rolling out over the summer. Exactly how many channels there will be on day one is currently unconfirmed.
Once launched, Fire TV users will easily be able to access these channels via the “Free” tab that is instantly visible on the home screen of all Fire TV devices. Amazon has also confirmed that within this tab there will be category-specific menus that will allow users to quickly find the content that appeals most to them which should help avoid the need for tedious channel-hopping.
“With Fire TV Channels, we’re delivering a simple, category-based experience that makes it easy to discover what you want to watch while constantly expanding content offerings,” said Charlotte Maines, director of Fire TV advertising, monetization, and engagement.
Amazon does already offer Fire TV users access to a selection of free ad-supported TV (FAST) and it notes that engagement in this content has risen 300% over the past six months. So, it’s no surprise that the tech titan is looking to grow the availability of free ad-supported content on the Fire TV platform and bring them all together in an easy-to-navigate hub.
There’s growing competition in the FAST space. Roku already offers a selection of free-to-access channels on its streaming platform, and last month Google TV revamped its Live tab and added over 800 free channels. Don’t be surprised if some of the best streaming services also take note and also begin offering even more free ad-supported content in the near future.