Amazon is again announcing an expansion to its Amazon Instant Video lineup, with today’s addition of back catalog content from Scripps Networks, home to HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Travel Channel. The deal involves “hundreds” of episodes of past seasons, and is notable for being the first online-only distribution agreement Scripps has signed to date, according to Amazon’s announcement.
That statement could be misunderstood to imply that this is the first time Scripps Networks has licensed its content for streaming, and that’s not the case. The company already has an agreement in place with Hulu, where you can find episodes from several of its most popular shows now. It also distributes video (in some cases, just clips) to YouTube, AT&T’s U-verse, and last summer it stuck a deal with Comcast, as well. We’ve asked Amazon to clarify what it means by noting this is an “online-only” deal,
since it could mean that Scripps Networks TV shows won’t be available in Amazon Instant Video on mobile. We’ll update when we hear back.
Update – Amazon explains what it means by that, saying that while up until this point these shows have been available for streaming a la carte, such as with Hulu’s free service, but haven’t yet been packaged within a subscription service, like Prime Instant Video. The company says it did not mean to imply by saying “online only” that the streams would not be available on mobile; they will.
In addition to being able to stream these new shows starting today, many will also be available for purchase and download, Amazon says.
Scripps Networks owns channels that primarily pump out low-cost reality programming, but have produced some small-scale hits which include things like Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day; Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations; Cupcake Wars; Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives; House Hunters and House Hunters International; Iron Chef America; Man v. Food; Selling New York and Selling LA; Throwdown With Bobby Flay; Chopped; Ghost Adventures; and Yard Crashers.
“One of the guiding principles at Scripps Networks Interactive is to make our valued lifestyle content accessible to consumers wherever and whenever they want,” said Henry Ahn, Executive Vice President of Content Distribution and Marketing for Scripps Networks Interactive in a release. “Licensing content from our extensive library to Amazon provides our millions of avid fans with yet another opportunity to engage with our entertaining and informative content. And the Amazon platform is a great complement to our branded products such as books, cookware, furniture and accessories, lighting and more.”
This may not be the only deal Scripps Networks has in store. During its Q4 2012 earnings call, CEO Kenneth Lowe responded when asked if the company was talking to Netflix and Amazon: “we are, in fact, talking with everybody and being judicious about it.”
“We’re weighing, frankly, as we have been, all along the upside of the incremental revenue against any downside it might create in terms of ratings competition for the incumbent business model, if you will,” Lowe said at the time. “But I’m confident that we’ll have some announcements coming in the next few months as to some of those distribution deals as the discussions have advanced very well.”
Amazon has been very, very quickly ramping up on its content and distribution deals for Amazon Instant Video. This year alone, it has signed new agreements with CBS, won the exclusive subscription streaming rights to PBS’s “Downtown Abbey,” and signed a deal with A&E Networks. In late 2012, the company added ESPN content, EPIX, Turner and Warner Bros.
Today, the company says it offers over 150,000 titles for rent or purchase, and its streaming subscription service has grown to over 38,000 movies and TV episodes. That’s up from 145,000 titles for rent or purchase and 33,000 titles in mid-January, to give you an idea.