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Fox, Amazon Ink Exclusive SVOD Agreement

6 Feb, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Agreement includes exclusive rights to FX’s ‘The Americans,’ in addition to other new and catalog programming

Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. and Amazon have signed a new distribution agreement granting the e-commerce behemoth’s Prime Instant Video subscription streaming service exclusive rights to FX Network’s espionage series “The Americans,” starring Keri Russell, in addition to other new and catalog programming.

Chase Carey, COO of Fox parent 21st Century Fox, disclosed the deal during the company’s Feb. 6 fiscal call. FX programming includes “Sons of Anarchy,” “Justified,” “Archer” and “American Horror Story: Coven.”

Carey said Amazon would provide additional details on the pact later in the day.

Last month, Fox began rolling out an app enabling authenticated viewers to access FX Networks on connected devices. The FXNow app streams programming from Fox-owned FX, FXX and FXM networks to 50% of its multichannel video program distributor subscribers. The remaining subs will gain access as retransmissions agreements are ironed out with MVPDs.

In August, FXNow becomes the lone VOD source for the first 24 seasons of “The Simpsons.” The app will also have access to upward of 60 movies a month — a tally that is expected to reach 200 movies by 2015. Fox steadfastly refuses to license “The Simpsons” to any third-party SVOD platform — a strategy Carey was asked about regarding if the network planned to involve other programming.

Carey said the decision to keep “The Simpsons” in-house rather than license to third parties involved a desire to expand the company’s “vertical integration” of content distributed digitally.

The COO said decisions regarding distribution of programming into secondary markets involves weighing the value of the content internally versus what the market will bear.

“The strength of [doing that] comes from having a strategic understanding of both sides and better insights,” he said. “When you get to a one-size fits all [regarding digital distribution], I don’t think that’s the way to go.”

Separately, Amazon announced that 10 new pilots would be streaming on Prime Instant Video in the U.S. and LoveFilm in the U.K., with consumer feedback to help determine which shows arebe made into series.

The pilots include two hour-long dramas from “The X-Files” creator Chris Carter, Eric Overmyer (“The Wire”), and Michael Connelly (Harry Bosch), comedies from Jason Schwartzman and Oscar-nominated Romzan Coppola, and kids programming.

The Amazon Instant Video app available on Kindle Fire tablets, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, as well as hundreds of other connected devices such as smart TVs.

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