Amazon bumps out Netflix, partners with Epix

The partnership is the latest in a series of deals Amazon has made to shore up content

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
September 4, 2012
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Amazon has been on a tear this year, inking multiple deals to add content to its Amazon Prime Service. Its latest deal has to feel even better, as it takes the wind out of the sales of one of Amazon's largest competitors - Netflix.

Amazon and Epix have signed a multi-year licensing agreement, it was announced Tuesday.

The deal adds thousands of new titles to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service, bringing the amount of available movies and television shows to 25,000, more than double the number Amazon had when it launched the Kindle Fire last year.

Some of the new additions include The Avengers, Iron Man 2, The Hunger Games, Transformers Dark of the Moon, Thor and Rango, Kick Ass, Paranormal Activity 2, True Grit, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Justin Bieber Never Say Never. There will also be comedy specials and concerts available, including Kevin Smith: Burn in Hell and Usher: Live from London.

“We are excited to be working with Amazon and to bring our compelling content to Amazon Prime and Kindle Fire customers,” Mark Greenberg, President and CEO of EPIX, said in a statement.

“This partnership is yet another great example of EPIX’s ability to broaden our reach through a digital platform, underscoring the incredible value of the EPIX content offering.”

Epix is a joint venture between Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate. The company previously had an exclusive deal with Netflix, which ran out at the end of last month.

While Netflix CEO Reed Hastings tried to downplay the significance of losing the exclusive rights to have Epix titles available on his site, saying in an earnings call that, “Epix is not a particularly large source of total viewing,” he sang a different tune during in a letter to investors at the end of July.

“Our online exclusivity expires shortly, but our agreement to carry EPIX content nonexclusively runs through mid-2013. On the strength of Paramount’s and Lionsgate’s film slates in 2011  and 2012, EPIX has become a great product and we look forward to our ongoing relationship,” Hastings said.

Needless to say, Amazon can only be happy to take titles away from such a big competitor.

Amazon’s recent deals

Amazon’s agreement with Epix is far from the only deal the company has made recently. In fact, Amazon has had a flurry of agreements in recent months to shore up the amount of titles on Prime.

In March, the company signed with Discovery to add 3,000 new titles to Prime, at the time making it the single biggest content addition to Prime's stash since the subscription video service was launched.

In May, Amazon made a deal with Paramount Pictures to bring hundreds of new movies, including Star Trek, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Mission: Impossible 3, Braveheart, Forrest Gump, Top Gun, and The Italian Job.

In June, Amazon and MGM made an agreement that added roughly 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, bringing Prime’s collection to 18,000 titles.

At the end of August, Amazon also made deals with ESPN and NBC.

ESPN gave Prime users access to installments of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series of sports docs including Pony Excess and Winning Time, and Ice Cube’sStraight Outta L.A., while the deal with NBC added a slew of new TV shows to the line-up, including past seasons of Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Battlestar Galactica, and more.

Amazon previously inked a deal with NBCUniversal this time last year to bring a boatload of movies to Prime’s arsenal, including Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Elizabeth, and Babe.

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