Amazon's Lovefilm, a Netflix competitor in the UK, has signed a multi-year deal with Twentieth Century Fox -- closing the content gap differentiating the two movie streaming companies.
The deal will start with titles that were released in the UK in 2011, and will be made available to Lovefilm subscribers in March -- that seems like forever in content viewing time.
Content that will soon be available to Lovefilm subscribers includes US drama hits like “Sons of Anarchy," “24," “Prison Break,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
The deal includes all of Lovefilm’s platforms including PC, Mac, Sony PlayStation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360, Apple iPad and Internet-connected TV sets and Blu-ray players.
Over the last year or so, Lovefilm has signed agreements with Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, NBC Universal, Entertainment One, STUDIOCANAL, Disney, ABC, BBC and ITV.
Amazon purchased Lovefilm back in January 2011 and has put a lot of focus into signing streaming rights deals so that the physical DVD program is a much lesser part of the business model -- not unlike Netflix.
Lovefilm currently has more than 2 million members in the U.K., Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, and hosts over 70,000 titles, DVD, games and streaming titles.
Other deals in streaming content
Just a few days ago, Amazon Prime signed a deal with MGM that will add some 1,000 new movie and TV titles to the Prime collection, including Rain Man, The Terminator, Dances With Wolves, The Silence of the Lambs, and more. The new additions brings Prime’s collection to 18,000 titles.
This deal followed Amazon’s May deal with Paramount Pictures. And in March, the e-commerce giant signed with Discovery to add 3,000 new titles to Prime--making it the single biggest content addition to Prime's stash since the subscription video service was launched.
Amazon Prime Instant Video has been growing at a pretty quick clip. Just last September, the digital movie subscription service had 11,000 titles, which means it has added 7,000 new titles in the last nine months—several thousand of which just rolled in over the last three months. Along with MGM, Paramount Pictures, and Discovery, Amazon Prime also offers TV and movie titles from Fox, NBCUniversal, and CBS.
Always reticent to reveal sales numbers, Amazon won’t reveal how many Prime subscribers it actually has, other than to say it’s in the “millions.”
Amazon added a real kick to its Instant Video service last month when it announced that its streaming video is now available to watch on Microsoft’s Xbox 360.
But Amazon Prime still has Netflix to contend with. Last fall, Netflix expanded overseas to the UK and Ireland and signed a multi-year agreement with MGM to stream titles like Capote, Fargo, and The Usual Suspects to British and Irish Netflix subscribers.
With Netflix securly focused on movies and TV content, Amazon Prime may have an advantage since it has one annual fee for shipping, streaming, books and audio. Quite a deal if the catalog expands further.