Amazon has announced a new licensing deal with Fox that will bring "24," "Arrested Development," "The X-Files," "Ally McBeal," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "The Wonder Years" to its $79/year Amazon Prime service (all of the titles except the latter are already available on Netflix streaming). The Fox deal comes just ahead of a press conference Amazon will hold this Wednesday, in which it is widely believed to unveil a new color Kindle Tablet that will play video and compete head-on with the iPad.
As I previously wrote, top-notch content is a key part of Amazon's strategy to drive Kindle Tablet sales during the all-important introductory 4th quarter and there has been speculation that Amazon will throw in a free subscription to Amazon Prime, which would mean access to all the above programs (part of 11K total) would be a key promotional hook to entice buyers. Amazon will surely benefit from newly-disgruntled Netflix subscribers who are looking for alternatives and also for new subscribers evaluating their options.
This type of bundling and promotion underscores how bigger players who can cross-subsidize content acquisition deals are going to become a major force in streaming premium programming going forward. Amazon, Google, Apple, Walmart, Dish and other pay-TV operators are among the deep-pocketed companies to watch. All have their eyes firmly set on becoming bigger players in digitally-delivered entertainment and the resources to make this a reality.
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