In a bid to give Netflix a run for its money, online retailer Amazon announced on Wednesday a new initiative that will keep owners of its Kindle Fire tablet happy with an expanded selection of Hollywood movies that can be streamed to the device.
“Over the next several months” Amazon Prime subscribers will be able to enjoy thousands of television episodes from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike, VH1, BET, CMT, and Logo thanks to a new licensing agreement with the entertainment conglomerate Viacom. This includes past seasons of popular shows such as “Jersey Shore,” “Chappelle’s Show,” “Hot in Cleveland,” “Yo Gabba Gabba,” “iCarly,” and more.
In addition to the Fire tablet, Prime subscribers can stream video to Google TV, Roku boxes, other certified devices, and of course the web. The Viacom deal will bring the total number of Prime Instant Videos to more than 15,000, still paling in comparison to over a hundred thousand titles available for rent over at Netflix. With that said, Amazon’s bolstering of its video content library could be an indication of an Amazon-branded set-top box, especially if it unbundle Prime Instant Videos from the Prime subscription and offer it as a standalone service.
The Kindle Fire is being sold with a complementary 60-day free trial of Amazon Prime. A Prime membership costs $79 a year and includes, among other perks, unlimited and commercial-free streaming of more than 15,000 movies and television shows to over 300 different devices. Other goodies include the convenience of free two-day shipping on millions of items from Amazon.com and access to tens of thousands of books to borrow. One book a month can be borrowed free of charge and there are no due dates if borrowing from a Kindle device. The Wall Street Journal reported last September that Amazon was discussing a deal with books publishers to allow Prime customers to subscribe to Kindle books in bulk. A recent ChangeWave Research study found out that nearly three in 10 Kindle Fire owners plan to increase their spending at Amazon.com because of owning that device.