Netflix adds TED Talks to its streaming catalog

Krystal Peak · March 16, 2012 · Short URL:

Netflix is packaging short educational clips together to bring its users 'ideas worth spreading'

I can remember the day that I discovered TED Talks in the summer of 2009 and how ingenious it seemed to bring together the brightest minds and the biggest investors. The content, at its best, was world-changing. And, now, TED Talks are coming to any device you stream video from your Netflix account.

TED is a biannual conference and costs roughly $7,500 to attend in person, but now anyone with a Netflix subscription will be able to access the several hundred video catalog discussing education, health, technology and human rights' issues.  

TED is a nonprofit group focused on publicizing "Ideas Worth Spreading." It started in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from technology, entertainment, and design, but has since expanded its scope. 

The talks run anywhere from three minutes to a half hour, and a usually very well visualized and edited. Currently, Netflix is aggregating these talks into two and a half hour segments called TEDTalk Shows, and divvying them up into 14 different categories, such as space, beauty, and sex. Hulu Plus already has some TED Talks in its premium catalog, but I found it overwhelming to scroll through the clips and add to my queue, especially since many of these brilliant minds don't have recognizable names and don't jump off the screen.

So now, for as little as $7.99 you can hear presentations for the brightest minds in the world as they blow your mind with the advances of 3D scanning of historical monuments or the visual changes that occur when a person is lying. The TEDTalks Shows are available to Netflix customers in the U.S., UK, Canada, Latin America, and Ireland.

The announcement the same week that Amazon announced a new partnership with the Discovery Channel. Amazon has been gaining on Netflix by offering streaming content through Prime Instant Video. But the Amazon Prime subscription model is a bit different than Netflix. Amazon Prime costs $79 a year for the program which also offers deals within its broader e-commerce website (such as free 2-day shipping). BAmazon beefed-up its video catalog by 3,000 on Wednesday when it announced a licensing deal with Discovery Communications. 

This is the biggest single addition to the Amazon Prime list of streaming videos including programs from Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery and the Science and Military Channel. This means that Amazon Prime customers will now be able to stream TV episodes and specials from those channels, as well as from the company’s 25-year programming library.

Popular programs included in this agreement are: Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” TLC’s “Say Yes To The Dress” and Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars,” “Cake Boss,” “Mythbusters” and the deeply beloved program series turned near-calendar-holiday “Shark Week.”

Amazon Prime customers pay the $79 per year for the service, which also includes free two-day shipping and access to the Kindle Lending Library.

Amazon now hosts more than 17,000 titles for streaming, and 120,000+ movies for rent or purchase through Amazon Instant Video. 

Last month Amazon signed a similar deal with Viacom and had continued to grow its catalog since DEcember when the videos available were just 13,000.

Amazon Prime has been getting some serious push through the marketing of the Kindle Fire tablet, which has helped boost membership north of 3 million.

While the boost in Amazon Prime offerings is a great addition, the company still has some stiff competition to deal with as Netflix continues to hold a lion's share of the market and video hosting services like YouTube are flooding money into the creation of original content and grabbing up music licensing agreements with VEVO. 

Prime Instant Videos are viewable on the Kindle Fire, Mac, PC, or Roku and as well as select blu-ray players.

But this continues to offer more competition for Netflix, which is up against Verizon and Redbox  as they team up to create their own online video streaming service.

Word has also been spinning around that Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings has been secretly negotiating with cable subscribers to enter into a partnership in which Netflix’s streaming service would be available to their subscribers.

Netflix has also experienced more content losses over the last year, including the loss of a lucrative deal with Starz, causing them to lose over 1,000 movies and TV shows from its streaming library. 

Amazon will still need more to continue chipping away from Netflix, which posted earnings of $41 million, or 73 cents a share, on revenue of $876 million last quarter. The company also boasted 21.67 million US subscribers to its Instant View content-streaming platform, an increase over Q4 of approximately 220,000 subscribers.


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