Amazon Prime gets in-season rights to "Under the Dome"

Faith Merino · February 11, 2013 · Short URL:

The deal allows Amazon to release episodes of the mini-series four days after they air

Well, this is an interesting development. As the war over the future of Internet TV wages on between Netflix and Amazon, the stakes are raised ever higher. Earlier this month, Netflix released its highly anticipated original series House of Cards—all at once. And the first episode is free to watch for non-subscribers. Amazon saw Netflix’s release of House of Cards and raised it a Downton Abbey.

Now there’s a new twist. Amazon announced Monday that it has made a deal with CBS to license the upcoming 13-episode mini-series Under the Dome, based on the novel by Stephen King. The kicker is that Amazon will be releasing the episodes on Prime just four days after they air on CBS. Typically, the subscription TV and movie services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu get the cable networks’ leftovers—the episodes from last season that only  have so much rerun value left in them.

That being said, the show itself…eh. The Simpsons already did it. The novel is about a town that is suddenly and inexplicably placed—under a dome. And there you have it.

But it’s a Stephen King novel, so it became a #1 best seller shortly after its publication in 2009, as well as a bestseller on Amazon in Books and Kindle Books.

The deal doesn’t mean that we’re going to start seeing new episodes of CSI or The Big Bang Theory on Amazon Prime any time soon, but it’s a step in the right direction. It’s hard to sell the case for Internet TV when all of your content is at least a year old. Naturally, that’s why Netflix pushed so hard for original programming, staking a rumored $100 million on two full seasons of House of Cards before a pilot was even produced.

“Amazon has the distinct combination of having a terrific video service with a huge fan base among their customers for Stephen King’s book, making them the perfect partner for this summer programming event,” said CBS’s content licensing officer Scott Koondel, in a statement. “With this innovative agreement, we’re giving fans more options to watch and stay current with this serialized series, and doing so in a way that protects the Television Network’s C3 advertising window.”

The series premiers on June 24, 2013.

Just last week, Amazon announced a deal with PBS that gives it exclusive rights to the hit Masterpiece Classic series Downton Abbey. As in, the whole series, starting with season three, and including season four and, if produced, season five.

Currently, both Netflix and Hulu offer some episodes of “Downton Abbey,” but Amazon’s deal with PBS Distribution gives Amazon exclusive rights to all seasons and episodes later this year, suggesting that current seasons available on Netflix and Hulu will actually be yanked.

Amazon Prime now boasts 36,000 movies and TV episodes.


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