It looks like Amazon is taking steps to actually make Amazon Instant Video at least a little bit more attractive. The service, which is free if you are a Prime member, has had poor streaming options right from the start. This week Amazon struck a deal with CBS that will bring a total of 2,000 new episodes to Amazon Instant Video, making it a bit better.
The deal with CBS will grow the Instant Video library from approximately 6,000 episodes/movies up to 8,000, a total of one third larger. The text of the press release details some of the shows which will have full seasons for viewing right off the bat,
“Amazon Prime customers will be able to instantly watch thousands of episodes from the CBS library at no additional cost to their membership. With the deal, Amazon will add 2,000 episodes to grow the total number of Prime instant videos to more than 8,000 movies and television shows, and offer full seasons for 18 popular television series, including “The Tudors,” “Numb3rs,” “Medium,” the complete “Star Trek” franchise, “Frasier” and “Cheers.” Starting this summer, dozens of CBS shows will also become available to Amazon Instant Video customers.”
While not specifically detailed, it would make sense that CSI and it’s slew of spinoffs are also included.
The specifics of the deal and what drove Amazon to go after CBS content in the first place aren’t known. It’s easy to speculate that with the recent hoopla over Netflix and their price increase, that Amazon is seeking to steal away some of those customers. Or rather, Amazon is getting the content in place to be able to entice users to try their service instead. If Amazon can increase their offerings on Instant Video it could be a compelling service. The benefits of Prime (free 2 day shipping) and the bonus of unlimited streaming of the Instant Video library all for $80 a year could be a hit to Netflix, if Amazon could just get enough content in place to make the service at all interesting.
Hopefully now that Amazon and CBS have made a deal other networks will follow suit. It would also be nice to see Amazon offer some newer movies on Instant Video. One of the great issues with most streaming services is that content isn’t available via streaming day and date with DVD. The first company that solves that problem will be the one most likely to get the business from customers looking to ditch DVDs and go digital.