Amazon announced a new licensing deal this morning with Discovery Communications, the media company behind cable TV channels including the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery and the Science and Military Channel. Under the terms of the agreement, which CEO Jeff Bezos calls the company’s “biggest addition yet,” Amazon Prime customers will now have the rights to stream series and specials from those channels, as well as from the company’s 25-year programming library, through Amazon’s video streaming service.
The TV channels include a bunch of popular shows, like Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs,” TLC’s “Say Yes To The Dress” and Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars,” the company announced, as well as other fan faves like “Cake Boss,” “Mythbusters” (super hooray!), “Man Vs. Wild” (so awesome), and “Shark Week.”
The videos will be available at no extra charge to Amazon Prime customers who pay the $79/year for the service, which also includes free two-day shipping and access to the Kindle Lending Library.
Amazon also notes that there are now over 17,000 titles now available for streaming, and more than 120,000 available for rent or purchase through Amazon Instant Video. Last month, when Amazon signed a similar deal with Viacom, the number of streaming titles was brought up to 15,000, so this is a notable boost in content. For what it’s worth, in December, the count was 13,000. If Amazon keeps up this pace, Amazon Instant will look a lot different by the end of 2012.
The company, which has been promoting Prime through free subscription on its Kindle Fire tablet, reportedly has 3-5 million Prime customers, according to a Bloomberg report from February, which was lower than the 10 million analysts had previously thought.
While deals like this one with Discovery, will certainly help flesh out Amazon’s library, that alone will not be enough – Amazon Video’s success is also hinged on the success of its Kindle Fire tablet. According to new figures from IDC, the Fire accounted for 16.8 percent of all tablet shipments in Q4 2011, or some 4.7 million units, making it the largest “Android” vendor. This, despite the fact it was only available in the U.S., makes for a promising start in terms of taking on its Android-based competition. However, the Fire is still a long ways off from competing with Apple’s iPad, which accounted for 15.4 million units, or 54.7% of all Q4 2011 shipments. And that means Amazon Video, too, is a long, long way off from taking on iTunes.
A message about the new addition was posted to Amazon’s homepage this morning. The full text reads:
Today we’re announcing our biggest addition yet, bringing nearly 3,000 more titles to Prime Instant Video. We’ve struck a deal with Discovery Networks to bring some of the highest quality, non-fiction, informative and entertaining content about the world to our Amazon Prime customers. Rolling out over the next few weeks are TV shows from Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, and Science. Prime members, at no additional cost, can now stream more than 17,000 titles.
The new titles include hits such as Deadliest Catch, Mythbusters, Man vs. Wild, Dirty Jobs, Gold Rush: Alaska, and Shark Week, TLC series like Say Yes to the Dress and Cake Boss, as well as content like How It’s Made from Science, and The Jeff Corwin Experience from Animal Planet.
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P.S. You can also rent or buy these Discovery titles, plus more than 120,000 new release movies and day-after-broadcast TV shows instantly at our Amazon Instant Video Store, no Prime membership required.