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Amazon Infiltrates Fire TV into Cable TV Market with NCTC Deal

Amazon is making a play with smaller cable companies, many of which have — or are seriously looking at — exiting the unprofitable TV market while still offering their customers third-party streaming video options.

Amazon has announced a new deal with the National Cable Television Cooperative, an organization with more than 750 member cable operators, providing these companies discounts on Amazon streaming devices including the Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube.

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“As more of our members deploy app-based pay TV offerings, having the option to purchase Amazon Fire TV streaming devices at a discount will help our broadband and cable operator members retain video customers by creating affordable options that do not rely on a traditional set-top box,” NCTC president Rich Fickle said in a statement. “These devices are a great compliment to services like MobiTV or for broadband-only offerings by our members.”

Related: Amazon Extends Fire TV Edition to Verizon, Other Pay TV Operators

Amazon didn’t say just how much of a discount NCTC members will get on its Fire TV devices.

The initiative falls under the recently expanded Fire TV Edition program, which was originally introduced three years ago as a means of integrating its OTT ecosystem into smart TVs. At CES in early January, Amazon announced that Fire TV Edition is now available to device categories ranging from sound bars to cars. And also included in that expansion were the devices pay TV operators lease to their customers.

NCTC Also Carves Out Ad Integration Deal

Separately, NCTC also announced a deal with Imagine Communications on AdKey, a system that will give member operators a path to monetizing IP video.

Costs and infrastructure challenges have traditionally kept smaller, independent cable operators from fully monetizing all the video they deliver. Independent operators typically have to invest in ad-splicing hardware installed on their top 20 to 25 TV channels. And as demand for streaming content grows, the AdKey solution will let operators replicate on digital what they have already have on their QAM-based system as a managed service with fewer upfront costs.

AdKey will allow operators to expand their advanced adverting value chain through ad insertion on all of their IP channels.