Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN - Analyst Report) announced an expanded multi-year content licensing agreement with PBS Distribution, a unit of The Public Broadcasting Service, extending the archive of television shows and films currently available on its streaming video site, Amazon Prime Instant Video.
Amazon Instant Video is a digital video streaming and download service that lets users rent, buy or subscribe to a range of video content.
Amazon is spending a considerable amount on licensing deals for movies and TV shows to attract more viewers to Prime Instant Video. Over the past 12 months, Amazon has entered into a number of deals with every major Hollywood studio, as well as some of the major cable networks. Recently, Amazon entered into a video licensing agreement with Viacom Inc. (VIA - Snapshot Report), bringing some of the most popular kids’ shows to its Prime Instant Video.
The latest deal with PBS Distribution will make Amazon's Prime Instant Video service the exclusive subscription service for streaming Season 3 of Downton Abbey. By the end of this year, no other digital subscription service other than Prime Instant Video will be able to offer any seasons of Downton Abbey.
Also, Prime members will be able to stream episodes of popular PBS programs including NOVA, Masterpiece and Ken Burns documentaries. Kids’ shows like Caillou, Arthur, Daniels Tiger’s Neighborhood, Dinosaur Train and Wild Kratts will also be available for free.
We believe that one of the key strategies for Prime Instant Video remains the expansion of its video archive. The deal is the latest effort by Amazon to strengthen its position versus Netflix (NFLX - Analyst Report), the leading online video subscription service in the United States.
Currently, Amazon Prime Instant Video offers more than 41,000 movies and shows on Kindle Fire and Fire HD as well as Apple's (AAPL - Analyst Report) iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. It is also available on Roku set-tops, Microsoft (MSFT - Analyst Report) Xbox 360s, Sony (SNE - Analyst Report) PlayStation 3s and Nintendo Wiis and Wii Us.
Amazon shares currently retain a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).