On the eve of Netflix losing streaming content from Starz, Amazon has announced it’s pumping up its Instant Video and Prime Instant Video services with new television and movie titles from Magnolia Pictures. The new titles are available for streaming via Amazon Prime Instant Video (part of Amazon Prime’s $79 annual membership fee); they were already available for rental to non-Prime customers with new release titles starting at $3.99 (although Amazon Daily Deals can cut that price as low as $0.99).
Sample Magnolia titles included in the deal include films like Sam Shepard’s Blackthorn, Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, The Perfect Host, Point Blank, Trollhunter, and the ever-popular Hobo With a Shotgun. Although much of Magnolia’s film catalog may lean towards offbeat titles that wont’ be familiar to many movie-goers, there are some gems in the mix like the documentaries Man on Wire and Page One: Inside the NY Times.
Although the number of titles Amazon is adding from Magnolia is relatively small, the content addition comes as Netflix is about to lose a substantial amount of streaming content from Starz thanks to an expiring contract. (Netflix will still be able to offer the content for DVD rental.) Perhaps most significantly for Netflix, the loss of Starz content also means the loss of popular Disney content, like the Toy Story franchise. However, Starz content reportedly consists of about two percent of Netflix’s total streaming traffic, as the firm increasingly shifts its focus to offering television programming in deference to films.
Amazon launched its Prime Instant Video service in early 2011 and claims more than 15,000 titles are available for instant streaming (Prime customers); the non-Prime Amazon Instant Video offers over 100,000 titles for rental or sal. Since launch, Amazon says it has added more than 10,000 movies and television shows to Prime Instant Video since it started — and Amazon does have a licensing deal with Disney, enabling it to offer things like Toy Story on Amazon Instant Video.
[Updated to clarify distinctions between Amazon Instant Video and Amazon Prime Instant Video.]