Amazon Gears Up for War with Netflix and Hulu - The UpStream

Amazon Gears Up for War with Netflix and Hulu

posted Wednesday Jul 20, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Amazon Gears Up for War with Netflix and Hulu

With big events like Hulu going up for sale and Netflix raising their prices, sometimes it's easy to lose sight of the rest of the pack. This week, Amazon Prime took it upon themselves to stand out from the crowd.

If you don't remember what Amazon Prime is, it started off as a shipping service on Amazon that would cost a customer $79 a year, but would give you free two-day shipping on almost every item in the Amazon.com inventory. It grew from there, adding new features, but it really took off when Amazon announced that their Prime service would also include their Instant Video services, only repackaged.

As the months have progressed from their announcement, Amazon Prime's video side of the fence has seen an improved interface, smoother and quicker video streaming and a list of new videos to stream while you wait for your Amazon.com orders.

This week, Amazon expanded their video library, directly targeting Netflix and Hulu. Could Amazon Prime take them down? We'll discuss after the break.

As competition grows more and more extreme to gain that one viewer to a service, Amazon closed a deal with CBS that will bring 2,000 episodes across 18 shows to the Prime service. This will now bring the total catalog of videos to 8,000 once it becomes available in the summer, nearly a 35% increase with just this non-exclusive deal. On that list of 18 shows includes popular titles like The Tudors, Numb3rs, Medium, Cheers and the complete Star Trek enterprise, so to speak. Do these names look familiar to you? They should, as these are the some of the same shows we saw fly over to Netflix only a few short months ago.

This is more important than just TV titles that the other boys have, however. What this deal means is that Amazon is setting up their Prime service to really start to compete with the other kids on the block. With the aforementioned crises at-hand for Netflix and Hulu, Amazon is stepping up to the plate at just the right time to start to attract some more attention. It doesn't hurt that Amazon also has financial pockets deeper than Netflix's and could cause some serious damage to the loyal fanbase if they should choose to shell out dollars for top-tier shows.

We did not learn specific details on the agreement with CBS, but we could safely guess that it's close to what Netflix did, and that Amazon could be paying more than $200 million a year to stream these shows.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos boasted what makes his Prime service better than anything else out there. The customer is paying almost the same price for streaming video but gets so much more for their money.

Our new deal with CBS makes Amazon Prime even better for customers. We're excited to add thousands of popular CBS programs to our already great selection, all of which stream at no additional cost to Amazon Prime members.

The question is, will it work? This is definitely going to ruffle up feathers, that is for sure, but will the move get more people checking out the service? Or, instead, will we see the S.S. Netflix withstand the waves and when all is said and done dock safely into the port of Internet streaming, still at the top spot?

It should be noted here that Amazon is also in the bidding war for Hulu as well, which, if they can pull that off, would definitely put (if not Prime) their company right back into the running for the Prime spot to go for all your video streaming needs.

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