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Amazon Inks Streaming Deal With Viacom

4 Jun, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel, Chris Tribbey

Majority of content is kid-focused as Amazon-Viacom battle Netflix’s ‘Just for Kids’ platform

The online battle for children’s attention heated up June 4 as Amazon announced a subscription video-on-demand deal with Viacom — with the bulk of programming focused on children and their parents.

The deal with Amazon Prime — the e-commerce giant’s membership-based shipping program with a free streaming service — follows Viacom’s just-expired agreement with Netflix. A renewal of that deal appeared doomed following comments last week from Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos regarding an impasse in negotiations.

“We valued their content for sure; we just disagreed about the value of the content,” Sarandos told investors at the Nomura U.S. Media & Telecom Summit in New York. “We’re into a whole new space about what people are watching and what it’s worth.”

In a statement on its website, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the Viacom agreement includes more than 250 TV seasons (more than 3,900 episodes) from Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central.

“We have increased by 55% the number of episodes available to top Prime shows for kids like ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ ‘Dora the Explorer,’ ‘Blue’s Clues,’ ‘iCarly’ and more of your Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. favorites, plus added 400 episodes of new shows such as ‘Team Umizoomi,’ ‘Bubble Guppies,’ ‘VICTORiOUS,’ ‘Big Time Rush’ and ‘Drake & Josh,’” Bezos said.

LoveFilm subscribers in the United Kingdom and Germany will get access to the program later this summer.

Select shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. will be available in Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, a service built just for kids that gives them the freedom to explore all their favorite books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows, while providing parents with the tools they need to manage their kids’ screen time.

“Kids’ shows are one of the most-watched TV genres on Prime Instant Video,” said Bill Carr, VP of digital video and music for Amazon. “And this expanded deal will now bring customers the largest subscription selection of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. TV shows online, anywhere. In addition, we are bringing customers popular shows from MTV and Comedy Central like ‘Key & Peele,’ ‘Workaholics,’ ‘Awkward’ and ‘Teen Mom 2,’ with the promise of more shows from these networks in the future.”

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, who last week downplayed any competiveness with Netflix, said the media giant is open to deals with all SVOD players.

“This innovative agreement will provide Prime members with access to even more of our best programming from our major television brands, including many digital video subscription streaming exclusives,” Dauman said in a statement. “Amazon has created a unique, brand-friendly environment for streaming entertainment and consumer products and we are excited to work with Amazon to bring customers shows they love.”

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