Amazon in streaming video deal with Viacom

February 8, 2012 by Chris Lefkow

Amazon announced a deal with entertainment giant Viacom on Wednesday, building up its arsenal of television shows as it takes on video streaming market leader Netflix.
Amazon announced a deal with entertainment giant Viacom on Wednesday, building up its arsenal of television shows as it takes on video streaming market leader Netflix.

The licensing agreement with Viacom will give Amazon Prime members access to TV shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike, VH1, BET, CMT and Logo, Amazon said in a statement.

The Seattle, Washington-based online retail giant said the Viacom deal takes the total number of videos available to Amazon Prime members to 15,000.

For $79 a year, Amazon Prime members receive free two-day shipping and unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows. Amazon has been giving away a free month of Amazon Prime to buyers of its new tablet computer, the Kindle Fire.

Amazon said the Viacom offering will include MTV's The Hills and Jersey Shore, Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show and The Sarah Silverman Program and Nickelodeon's iCarly, Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants.

The agreement does not include Hollywood movies from Viacom's Paramount Pictures, which has a deal with Netflix, or popular Comedy Central shows such as The Colbert Report or The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

"We are constantly working to improve the service by adding the shows that our customers enjoy the most," said Brad Beale, director of video content acquisition for Amazon.

"This deal with Viacom brings Prime customers and Kindle Fire users thousands of comedies, kids' shows, reality TV and much more from some of the best cable networks available," Beale said.

Other Amazon content partners include CBS, Fox, PBS, NBCUniversal, Sony, Warner Bros and Disney-ABC Television.

The Amazon-Viacom announcement comes two days after US telecom giant Verizon said it is teaming up with Coinstar, which operates Redbox movie rental kiosks, to launch a subscription video service later this year.

Verizon and Coinstar said Monday they had formed a joint venture that will add an online streaming option to the 35,400 Redbox vending machines located in grocery stores, McDonald's restaurants and other sites.

The Los Gatos, California-based Netflix, which offers online streaming and DVD delivery by mail, had 24.4 million US subscribers at the end of December, up from 23.8 million at the end of the previous quarter.

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings, in a letter to shareholders last month, said he expects Amazon to eventually launch "their video subscription offering as a standalone service at a price less than ours."

But Hastings said Amazon and another online video rival, Hulu -- a joint venture between News Corp., Disney and NBC Universal -- offer only a "fraction of our content" and their total viewing hours are "less than 10 percent of ours."

Amazon shares rose 0.70 percent to $185.48 on Wednesday. Netflix shares lost 3.03 percent to $124.00 and Viacom shares gained 2.30 percent to $55.53.

Explore further: Amazon, Netflix in deals with Disney-ABC

Related Stories

Amazon offers free online movies to Prime members

February 22, 2011

Online shoppers subscribing to Amazon.com's premium membership are getting a new entertainment feature that will allow them to watch movies over the Internet, just as they can through Netflix's rapidly growing video subscription ...

Amazon trying to offer subscription TV, movies

September 1, 2010

(AP) -- Amazon.com Inc. is talking with major media companies about offering unlimited views of older TV shows and movies online, as it struggles to stay relevant to consumers flocking to Apple Inc.'s iTunes a la carte store ...

Recommended for you

Archaeologists discover Incan tomb in Peru

February 16, 2019

Peruvian archaeologists discovered an Incan tomb in the north of the country where an elite member of the pre-Columbian empire was buried, one of the investigators announced Friday.

Where is the universe hiding its missing mass?

February 15, 2019

Astronomers have spent decades looking for something that sounds like it would be hard to miss: about a third of the "normal" matter in the Universe. New results from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory may have helped them ...

What rising seas mean for local economies

February 15, 2019

Impacts from climate change are not always easy to see. But for many local businesses in coastal communities across the United States, the evidence is right outside their doors—or in their parking lots.

The friendly extortioner takes it all

February 15, 2019

Cooperating with other people makes many things easier. However, competition is also a characteristic aspect of our society. In their struggle for contracts and positions, people have to be more successful than their competitors ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.