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Amazon Prime Begins Streaming CBS Series ‘Under the Dome’

28 Jun, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Ecommerce behemoth, which has exclusive SVOD rights to episodes four days after initial broadcast, ups ante to bloggers and third-party sites referring Prime Instant Video subs

Amazon June 28 began streaming the first episode of CBS summer replacement TV series, “Under the Dome,” to its Prime Instant Video subscribers.

In a break from its strategy toward subscription video-on-demand services, CBS inked a deal with Amazon whereby the latter’s SVOD service can stream individual episodes of the sci-fi series based on a Stephen King novel of the same name four days after their initial primetime broadcast.

CBS, heretofore, has licensed only cancelled TV shows or The CW programming to SVOD platforms, preferring to generate incremental revenue from traditional channels such as TV syndication and multichannel video program distribution.

“Under the Dome” is about a small New England town that is suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an enormous transparent dome. The novel was a #1 best-seller when first published by Simon & Schuster's Scribner in 2009, and was an Amazon bestseller in both books and Kindle Books in 2009.

“’Under the Dome’ has been a very popular book with Amazon customers," said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon. “We're excited to offer this highly anticipated CBS series exclusively to Prime customers at no additional cost during its current television season.”

Separately, Amazon has upped the referral fees (to $2) it pays to bloggers and third-party websites directing users to sign up (even for free trials) for Amazon Prime Instant Video. Typically, Amazon pays third parties on a sliding scale based on the traffic they generate to platforms — usually topping at 6%.

The $2 fee paid to referrals, even for visitors who only sign up for the free 30-day trial, represents a significantly higher margin rate, according to  Anders Bylund, a contributor to The Motely Fools investor site.

“This is a big deal for bloggers,” Bylund said. “I expect a lot of partners to jump on this opportunity.”

He thinks the referral program should significantly up the viewing hours on Amazon Prime, which Bylund said currently pale in comparison to Netflix’s.

“It could certainly use some help from Amazon’s marketing department,” he said. “Expect a lot of Amazon Prime links [to appear] on your favorite sites over the summer.”




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