Amazon Prime brings on premium ESPN content

Krystal Peak · August 21, 2012 · Short URL:

Those watching TV through Amazon's Instant Video service now have more sports, docs to choose from

Amazon Prime wants to be a heavy hitter in the streaming content space and has just announced that it added significantly to its catalog of sports and documentary content. Starting Tuesday, Amazon Prime users can access installments of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series of sports docs including Pony Excess and Winning Time, and Ice Cube’sStraight Outta L.A.

The new ESPN videos help the young service reach 22,000 TV episodes that can be accessed from the Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet, the Roku player, iPad tablets, Xbox 360, the Web platform and PlayStation 3 consoles.

”We’re continuing to grow our Prime Instant Video library to provide our Amazon Prime Members with all the content they want – from feature films, to hit TV episodes to documentaries, and everything in between,” Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon, said in a statement.

Now Amazon Prime has more than 120,000 films and TV episodes for its instant video service offered to users paying $79 per year to receive free two day shipping on various items, as well as instant streaming of films and TV shows.

This news comes just weeks after Amazon’s quarterly report reflected the continued success of the company. The business' second quarter revenue rose 29% to $12.83 billion from $9.91 billion in the same period last year. While it was slightly below consensus estimates which pegged it at $12.91 billion, it was still lauded as a true testament to the power of Amazon's services.

While the Kindle Fire was the biggest money maker and item seller for the company, the Amazon Prime service also proved to be a big winner.

“Amazon Prime is now the best bargain in the history of shopping,” said CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement. “We successfully launched Prime seven years ago with free unlimited two-day shipping on one million items,” Bezos explained.  “The price of annual membership was $79. Since then, Prime selection has grown to 15 million items.  We've also added 18,000 movies and TV episodes available for unlimited streaming. And we’ve added the Kindle Owners’ 

Just a few weeks ago Amazon inked 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.

That deal followed on the heels of 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.

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.

While Netflix has found a strong consumer base and has had time to work out a lot of the kinks in streaming so much content to users around the continent (which Amazon Prime is strill grappling with), the fact that the company is bundling premium shipping with video does make for a better value to the consumer overall. We will have to see what Netflix does to show their value is strong as well. Many started thinking that the added value Netflix could offer was original content (and that still could be the case), but its first jump into those waters, Lovehammer, was a big flop and few expect rosey results to come.


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