Amazon launches the first of its own subscription VOD channels, Anime Strike

Amazon has debuted its first own-brand subscription video-on-demand channel, part of the Amazon Channels offering it provides with content from partners including HBO and Showtime. This is the first time Amazon has created its own sub-channel, as it has instead focused on building the general Amazon Prime Video library and VOD offerings.

Amazon will be doing more of this kind of tailored offering, Variety reports, but for now Anime Strike is the only Amazon-created selection available to Prime members in the U.S. via Amazon Channels. The subscription offering will run $4.99 per month, with an initial seven-day free trial, and includes no ads, along with a hefty library of anime hits, including day-and-date broadcast releases from ongoing series’ including “Scum’s Wish” and “Blue Exorcist: Kyoto Saga.”

Updates to the library will come weekly, and anime made sense as an initial target vertical for this model because it has a dedicated, sizeable audience that isn’t well served in the U.S., according to Amazon VP Michael Paull speaking to Variety. Netflix also has a significant anime library, as it is a category where there’s inventory and interest that is mostly ignored by the more established TV providers, leading to more attractive economics in terms of cost of inventory acquisition.

Amazon intends to launch more of these over the next few months, however, with different genres covered, though it isn’t saying which at this point. The move could help Amazon build out its TV business along more traditional lines, offering a la carte content rather than less flexible bundles, but nonetheless building up subscription revenue from users.