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Amazon Gets 'Prime' Lionsgate TV Shows in the U.K.

20 Jun, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Lead cast of 'Mad Men'

Exclusive access to “Mad Men” is a slap of sorts to Netflix, which claims streaming helped build the show's popularity in the U.S.

Amazon Prime Instant Video announced it has signed its first license deal with Lionsgate U.K. for exclusive subscription streaming access to the mini-major’s TV programs in Britain. The deal includes complete seasons of “Mad Men,” Charlie Sheen’s “Anger Management,” “Weeds” and “Nashville,” among others.

“We are very excited that viewers can now watch such incredible shows including ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Anger Management’ through Prime Instant Video, and look forward to developing a successful relationship with Lionsgate U.K. in the years to come,” Chris Bird, strategy director at Amazon Prime Instant Video U.K., said in a statement.

The pact represents a coup of sorts for Amazon in the U.K., which is engaged in a battle with Netflix for SVOD eyeballs in Europe. Notably, Netflix in the United States has had exclusive access to “Mad Men” — an agreement the streaming pioneer claims benefited the show during its broadcast on AMC Networks.

"We brought maybe a million viewers to AMC," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in 2012.

Meanwhile, Lionsgate-produced “Orange Is the New Black” remains Netflix’s top-rated original program in the U.S., generating more viewers than Netflix's much-hyped political series “House of Cards,” according to the streaming service. Netflix doesn’t release actual viewership data.

While Lionsgate also has a distribution deal with Netflix in the U.K. for its movies, it welcomed the deal with Amazon Prime.

“We are delighted to announce our first SVOD deal with Amazon, a deal which will make a vast catalog of award-winning television available to U.K. viewers through Prime Instant Video,” COO Guy Avshalom said in a statement.

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