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Amazon, Viacom Sign Content Deal for SVOD Service

8 Feb, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Amazon Feb. 8 said it finalized a content license agreement with Viacom for the ecommerce retailer's Prime Instant Video subscription streaming service.

Amazon, which last year entered the SVOD business with an add-on video service to its $79 annual Amazon Prime loyalty program, said the deal allows subscribers to stream TV shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike, VH1, BET, CMT and Logo. The agreement ups to more than 15,000 videos available on Prime, which can be accessed on more than 300 consumer electronics devices, including the Kindle Fire tablet.

Titles will include kids’ favorites, standup comedy and reality TV. Amazon will offer MTV shows, including "The Hills," "Jersey Shore," "The Hard Times of RJ Berger" and several seasons of "The Real World," and Comedy Central shows such as "Chappelle's Show" and "The Sarah Silverman Program." For kids, Amazon brings Nickelodeon episodes of "iCarly," "Dora the Explorer," "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "Yo Gabba Gabba," along with TV Land favorite, "Hot in Cleveland."

"Over the last year we have received fantastic customer feedback about Prime Instant Video,” said Brad Beale, director of video content acquisition for Amazon. "We are constantly working to improve the service by adding the shows that our customers enjoy the most."

Indeed, Viacom CEO Philip Dauman last week, in a fiscal call with analysts, said the media company would be announcing an online video agreement in the near future. Viacom owns Paramount Pictures and Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment, among other properties.

Amazon is looking to keep pace with Netflix streaming by melding with its Kindle Fire tablet, which sold about 5 million units in the fourth quarter. Amazon also owns disc rental service LoveFilm, which boasts 2 million by-mail subscribers throughout Western Europe. LoveFilm in December launched SVOD service LoveFilm Instant — a month prior to Netflix bowing streaming service in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Amazon also sells physical discs and operates transactional VOD service Amazon Instant Video — the latter doubling the number of digital rentals and online consumers in the fourth quarter, according to the company.

The SVOD market is beginning to build momentum and competition to trailblazer and market leader Netflix. Coinstar’s kiosk service Redbox this week announced plans to offer streaming through a partnership with Verizon. And pay-TV channel HBO acquired a 15% stake in an Australian SVOD service.

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