Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Hola, Dora! Amazon Locks Up the Viacom Kids’ Shows Netflix Doesn’t Have Anymore.

dora1Netflix doesn’t want Viacom shows like “Dora the Explorer” and “Spongebob Squarepants” — or at least not at Viacom’s asking price.

But Amazon is happy to pay up: Jeff Bezos and company have locked up some of the cable programmer’s best-known kids’ titles, along with a pile of other TV shows from networks like MTV and Comedy Central.

Amazon’s Prime Instant Video will be the only paid streaming service with the rights to many of those shows, including Nick Jr. programs like “Dora,” “The Backyardigans” and “The Fresh Beat Band.”*

The move isn’t surprising, as Netflix had said in April that it wasn’t going to renew an old deal for Viacom’s shows. Those shows came off the service in late May – shortly after Netflix added some more kids’ shows from Disney.

And Amazon has already shown a willingness to outbid Netflix for stuff it thinks will help differentiate it from its bigger competitor, like an exclusive pickup for “Downton Abbey.” A person familiar with Amazon said the “multi-year, multi-national” Viacom deal represents the company’s biggest licensing outlay to date.

When Netflix and Amazon started competing in streaming video, there was lots of overlap in their catalogs — the studios were very happy to sell the same stuff to multiple bidders. But if things keep going in this direction, Netflix and Amazon may end up looking like HBO and Showtime, with each service promoting its own original content, along with exclusive rights to different sets of other people’s movies and TV shows.

The question for the studios and networks that are selling their old stuff is what happens as the digital guys get pickier: In the best-case scenario, the new stream of cash those services have provided keeps flowing at the same rate, as they outbid each other for exclusives. On the other hand, they might decide they’re better off keeping more money for the stuff they make themselves.

* The Amazon deal won’t affect the Nick app Viacom introduced this spring, which gives some pay TV subscribers access to recent shows, or its Nick Jr. app that’s supposed to come out later this summer, Viacom said.

Amazon and Viacom Announce Multi-Year Video Licensing Agreement;
Adds a Selection of TV Shows Available Exclusively on Prime Instant Video

Prime Instant Video is adding thousands of episodes from Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., MTV and COMEDY CENTRAL — including a collection of subscription TV shows customers won’t find anywhere else — with favorite kids shows like Dora the Explorer, Go, Diego, Go!, Blue’s Clues and The Backyardigans, all available to Kindle Fire customers with FreeTime Unlimited

Multi-year deal will bring Amazon customers the TV shows and movies they want to watch, when they want to watch them, and on any device they want to watch them on — including Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone, Roku and more

SEATTLE and NEW YORK — June, 2013 — Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIAB and VIA) today announced an expanded multi-year, multi-national digital video licensing agreement to bring hundreds of TV shows and thousands of TV episodes from Viacom to Prime Instant Video. This deal includes a collection of TV shows that customers won’t find on any other digital video subscription service. Prime members will now have unlimited instant streaming access to popular kids programming such as Bubble Guppies, The Backyardigans, Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues and Victorious, along with top-rated shows from MTV and COMEDY CENTRAL like Awkward, Tosh.0 and Workaholics. Prime members will also have access to future episodes of Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Fairly Odd Parents, Fresh Beat Band and more. LOVEFiLM customers in the UK and Germany will get some of the same great shows later this summer.

Select shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. will be available in Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, a service built just for kids that gives them the freedom to explore all their favorite books, games, educational apps, movies and TV shows, while providing parents with the tools they need to manage their kids’ screen time.

“Kids shows are one of the most watched TV genres on Prime Instant Video,” said Bill Carr, VP of Digital Video and Music for Amazon. “And this expanded deal will now bring customers the largest subscription selection of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. TV shows online, anywhere. With programs like Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Bubble Guppies and The Backyardigans there are hundreds of great shows for kids and parents to choose from. In addition, we are bringing customers popular shows from MTV and COMEDY CENTRAL like Key & Peele, Workaholics, Awkward and Teen Mom 2, with the promise of more shows from these networks in the future.”

“We are thrilled to be extending and deepening our relationship with Amazon,” said Philippe Dauman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom. “This innovative agreement will provide Prime members with access to even more of our best programming from our major television brands, including many digital video subscription streaming exclusives. Amazon has created a unique, brand-friendly environment for streaming entertainment and consumer products and we are excited to work with Amazon to bring customers shows they love.”

Prime Instant Video offers more than 41,000 movies and TV episodes for Prime members to stream on Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Roku, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii and Wii U, among other connected TVs and devices — all at no additional cost. Also as previously announced, later this month Prime Instant Video will become the exclusive home to PBS hit series Downton Abbey as well as the highly anticipated CBS summer series Under the Dome, with each episode of the latter added just four days after initial broadcast. To sign up for Amazon Prime, visit www.amazon.com/primeinstantvideo.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

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