Amazon.com this morning announced a deal with Viacom to add TV shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike, VH1, BET, CMT and Logo to the streaming video catalog available at no extra cost to its Amazon Prime subscribers.
The announcement confirms a report by Reuters yesterday afternoon.
The news comes amid widespread speculation that Amazon will be launching a standalone video subscription service to challenge Netflix. With the Viacom deal, Amazon says the Prime Instant Video Catalog is now more than 15,000 videos.
Shows added include MTV programs The Hills, Jersey Shore, and The Real World; Nickelodeon titles iCarly, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Yo Gabba Gabba; and Comedy Central shows including Chappelle’s Show and The Sarah Silverman Program.
The news release doesn’t mention the popular Comedy Central shows The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, which are available for streaming on on Hulu but not on Netflix. (We’re double-checking to see if those shows will be included in Amazon Prime as part of the Viacom deal, but it doesn’t look like it.)
Amazon says Prime Instant Videos are viewable on more than 300 devices, including its Kindle Fire tablet. They’re viewable on Mac, PC and a wide variety of set-top boxes – but not on the iPad or iPhone.
Offering a subscription service on iOS devices was complicated last year by new rules requiring content apps to share with Apple a 30 percent cut of subscriptions sold from inside iOS apps. Amazon removed a link to its Kindle Store from inside its Kindle iOS app as a result. Amazon doesn’t offer in-app Kindle book purchasing on iOS, avoiding the revenue split with Apple.
In its latest earnings report, Netflix acknowledged the possibility of increased competition from Netflix but downplayed the implications.
One class of competitors is the other over-the-top pure plays such as Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime. We expect Amazon to continue to offer their video service as a free extra with Prime domestically but also to brand their video subscription offering as a standalone service at a price less than ours. Both Amazon and Hulu Plus’s content is a fraction of our content, and we believe their respective total viewing hours are each less than 10% of ours.