A little over a year ago, Amazon announced it signed a deal with CBS which would bring a summer TV series “Under the Dome,” based on a Stephen King novel, to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video. Today, the company says that show’s first season was the most-watched TV season on the service And now, Amazon is again expanding upon its relationship with CBS with a new agreement for a forthcoming Halle Berry show called “Extant,” also produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television.
“Under the Dome” averaged 15.06 million viewers, making it the most-watched scripted summer television series in 21 years, notes Amazon in this morning’s announcement.
Like “Under the Dome,” episodes from the new series “Extant” will also become available on Prime four days after they air on CBS, allowing the network to still partake in the video-on-demand and DVR viewing taking place in the first few days after airing live.
At the time of the first deal, it was reported that CBS had sought an on-demand partner from the start – an arrangement that made it financially feasible to produce a high-end, scripted show at lower license fees. That CBS is now returning to Amazon Prime with a second series indicates that former arrangement may have worked out. In fact, a quote from Scott Koondel, Chief Corporate Licensing Officer, CBS Corporation provided in today’s release hints that may be the case, as he says: “our partnership with Amazon for Under the Dome helped build a creative, financial and marketing model for event television in the summer.”
However, Variety points out that this time around, CBS has sweetened the deal for itself – it will now be able to offer each episode of “Extant” for ad-supported streaming on CBS.com, when before it had to take the episode down as soon as the Prime window began.
While this particular deal puts Amazon in competition with services like Hulu which let you watch shows soon after they air on television, Amazon also has deals for back catalogs of series and movies, as well as other more current dramas – like PBS’ “Downton Abbey,” which apparently, “Under the Dome” beat out on Prime. And more recently, Amazon has moved into original programming as well, as with shows like “Alpha House” and Silicon Valley parody “Betas.”
“Extant’s” premise, for those interested in the show not the back room deals, is a mystery thriller involving Halle Berry as an astronaut who struggles to reconnect with her family after a year in space. It will premiere on CBS in June.