In a major win for Amazon (at least in parents’ eyes), the company announced today that it has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Viacom, which brings to its Prime Instant Video service the popular kids programs Netflix recently lost, after allowing its Viacom deal to expire. Amazon’s deal, a multi-year, multi-national licensing agreement, includes Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. fare like Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Bubble Guppies, The Backyardigans, Fairly Odd Parents, Fresh Beat Band, Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues, iCarly, Victorious, and more.
For older viewers, the deal also includes MTV and Comedy Central programming like Awkward, Tosh.0, Key & Peele, Teen Mom 2 and Workaholics. In total, over 250 TV seasons and more than 3,900 episodes have been added.
Outside the U.S., LOVEFiLM customers in the U.K. and Germany will get some of the same shows later this summer.
“Kids’ shows are one of the most watched TV genres on Prime Instant Video,” said Bill Carr, VP of Digital Video and Music for Amazon in a release. “And this expanded deal will now bring customers the largest subscription selection of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. TV shows online, anywhere.”
The news of the deal comes at a time when a number of upset parents stormed Netflix’s Get Satisfication consumer support site to complain about the Nick titles going missing. In fact, Amazon has already been benefitting from Netflix’s loss ahead of this new agreement — several of the shows Netflix had lost were available on Amazon, and were trending in the top 10 most popular shows list on Prime shortly after their removal from Netflix.
Netflix certainly wants to bring those programs back, but only if it can do so on its own terms. As CEO Reed Hastings has explained before, the goal is to have relationships with content owners on both sides where both sides benefit. In Netflix’s case, it would rather pay highly for individual top-rated series, rather than buying bundles of shows.
In addition, though Netflix lost Viacom kids’ shows, it added other programming like Jake and the Never Land Pirates from Disney and Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. But while young children are generally placated by any cartoon you put in front of them, Netflix may have underestimated the draw that particular well-known and well-loved character brands have for children and their parents alike. (There’s a reason entire toy empires are built on top of these things.) Plus, parents know you can get Jake for free in the Disney Jr. iPad app, so it’s not as big a win.
Amazon says that some of the newly added Viacom shows will be available in Kindle Free Time Unlimited, the kid-friendly service that lets children safely explore books, games, apps, movies and TV, while parents can control access and time limits.
The company is now promoting its Viacom shows directly on the homepage of Amazon.com, which says something about the size and importance of this deal.
Amazon’s Prime Instant Vidoe service now includes more than 41,000 movies and TV shows for members, which stream to video consoles, smart TVs, mobile devices, and Kindle Fire/Fire HD tablets. Unlike Netflix, which charges a monthly subscription service to access its video content, Prime Instant Video is a perk of Amazon’s larger Prime membership program, which also includes free two-day shipping and access to the Kindle Lending Library.