Android TV Testing ‘Channels’-like Subscription Signs-ups

‘Pilot’ program delivers on long-anticipated plan to let users sign up for streaming services through Google Play Store

Google is testing a new system that will give streaming services the option of letting new subscribers sign up their platforms on Android TV similar to how it’s done on Amazon Prime Channels.

Google first discussed this year ago at its I/O developers conference as part of a broader redesign of the Google Play Store component within its Android TV OTT device ecosystem.

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The redesign subsequently rolled out. But the new “Channels”-like feature is only now entering what Google conceded is a “pilot” phase.

The new feature, outlined in this Google support page, allows Android TV users to select a subscription streaming app within Google Play, then subscribe to it using their Google authentication data, thus cutting down a whole lot of data entry steps.

“We’re always working on improving the user experience for Android TV users. This feature that we are piloting with select partners make it easier to subscribe and install apps in Google Play more quickly,” Google said in a statement published by Android Police.

It’s unclear as to what video publishers, if any, have agreed to participate in Google’s pilot so far.

Also read: Google Reportedly Moving Forward with Android TV-powered, Nest-branded OTT Device

Amazon Prime Channels has offered the convenience of “one-click” sign-up to consumers since 2015. And major SVOD platforms including HBO Now, CBS All Access and Acorn TV have significantly grown their subscriber bases through Prime Channels, but that has come at the expense of not only sharing large chunks of subscription revenue with Amazon, but also ceding the direct-to-customer relationship. Users watch their content through the Amazon Prime Video app, and Amazon handles data collection and billing.

Roku and Apple have copied the Prime Channels strategy, but publishers including AT&T and Disney have pushed back on it of late, seeking to control more aspects of the customer relationship.