The instant streaming subscription wars are beginning to heat up. Today, Jeff Bezos announced in a big letter on Amazon’s homepage that he has inked a deal with Fox to bring a large catalog of TV shows and movies to its Amazon Prime instant streaming service. Shows like Arrested Development, 24, The X-Files, Ally McBeal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Wonder Years, which will debut online for the first time through Amazon. This brings Amazon’s total number of shows available for instant streaming to 11,000.
“Since launching earlier this year, we have now doubled the number of titles available in Prime instant videos, and there’s still more to come,” said Bezos. “Prime membership remains $79 a year, and of course features our unlimited free two-day shipping on millions of products. Prime is one of the best values anywhere.”
Of course, Amazon’s library still doesn’t rival Netflix, which boasts more than 20,000 titles, according to AllThingsD, but it is quickly becoming a strong competitor. It also dares to offer what Netflix does not: movie rentals and purchases. When you add in the many new releases available through rental, Amazon’s value begins to grow substantially. Then there’s price. At $79 per year, Amazon is $1.42 cheaper per month than Netflix or Hulu. The only thing holding the service back is availability and notoriety. If Amazon can get its videos on the Xbox, all phones, other game platforms, and tablets, it is bound to make some headway. With the added value or free 2-day shipping, it’s a pretty good deal.
However, we should point out that Netflix already has a deal with Fox and has episodes of most of these shows already. Bezos made no mention of an exclusivity agreement between Amazon and Fox so we assume that both services will continue to receive programming from the network/studio.
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