Live content from Google’s YouTube TV and Disney’s Hulu will be directly integrated into Fire TV’s Live Tab, On Now rows, and the multi-app Channel Guide, which can be accessed via Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
Listings from YouTube TV are available on Fire TV starting Wednesday (July 8), and program info from Hulu + Live TV will be available in the coming weeks. Those join more than a dozen other apps woven into Fire TV’s live TV features, including Dish Network’s Sling TV, which began rolling out on Fire TV earlier this year, as well as ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV, Philo, and Prime Video Channels (such as HBO and Showtime).
“We believe the future of connected TV is one that brings live content forward, simplifies the streaming and OTT landscape, and enables customers to discover the programs they want to watch with ease,” said Sandeep Gupta, VP of Fire TV. “What we have focused on is, how to not just be a sea of app experiences.”
According to Amazon, Fire TV’s Live Tab has become the second most-visited destination on the device’s user interface after the home screen. On average, live-streaming apps on Fire TV have seen total time spent in-app and number of active customers more than double after being integrated into the live TV discovery features.
Gupta said live TV streaming apps have some of the most engaged customers, who spend on average 40 hours per month streaming video. During COVID-19 stay-at-home quarantines, live TV apps on Fire TV have seen a nearly 100% increase in duration of usage — and 50% more customers, according to Amazon.
“Live TV is having a moment,” said Gupta.
Fire TV displays program listings only for apps that customers subscribe to (or can access for no extra charge, like Pluto TV). Once users have logged into any of the integrated live streaming apps or channels, they can unlock additional Alexa functionality by using the Alexa Voice Remote, Fire TV Cube with Alexa built-in, or a paired Echo device to issue commands like “Alexa, open the channel guide” or change the channel by saying “Alexa, tune to [name of channel].”
In the U.S., Fire TV now provides live listings for Amazon’s Twitch, Prime Video Channels and live events (NFL’s “Thursday Night Football,” HBO, Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, MLB.tv, PGA Tour Live, NBA League Pass), Pluto TV, Philo, Red Bull TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV (with Hulu + Live TV coming in the next few weeks).
Philo, the low-cost internet TV service that strips out sports and broadcast networks, has seen its active user base on Fire TV pop roughly threefold since its listings were integrated into Fire TV’s discovery features in early 2019, CEO Andrew McCollum said.
“It’s hard to isolate one product initiative, but we have seen significant growth on Fire TV” because of the live integration, McCollum said. The partnership benefits both parties, he said: “Amazon wants to have a product where people can get access to the best apps and entertainment, and we want people to use our app as much as possible.”