Amazon Prime Signs Exclusive Streaming Deal for Fringe, The West Wing
Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has announced that its streaming video service will soon feature new and classic programming from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
The deal, which includes Dark Blue, Alcatraz, and The Whole Truth, will bring new TV series to Amazon Prime, which already offers more than 18,000 videos for instant streaming.
Starting this summer, Amazon Prime will be the only website that streams full seasons of J.J. Abrams' Fringe and Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing. While the latter show is no longer on the air, Fringe is about to enter its fifth and final season. Hulu users can currently stream the last five episodes for free (a Hulu Plus subscription is not required), but Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) users can only view the show on DVD. The same goes for The West Wing, which is not available on Hulu.
On the product pages for Fringe and The West Wing, Netflix users have filled the "Member Reviews" section with requests for these shows to be added to its streaming service. But with Amazon's new deal, Netflix subscribers will have to switch services if they want to watch these shows or rent the DVDs when they become available. While The West Wing is already available, the fourth season of Fringe will not be released on DVD until September 4. Amazon did not say if it would begin streaming the fourth season any sooner.
Earlier this year, 30 Rock fans were surprised to learn that full seasons of the popular sitcom -- which were pulled from Hulu -- were now available exclusively on Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) new streaming service, Streampix. Comcast launched the service with a number of high-profile shows, including Lost and Grey's Anatomy. But while those dramas are owned by ABC and still appear on Hulu, 30 Rock airs on NBC and is produced by Universal Television, both of which were acquired by Comcast last year.
Promoted as an additional service for Comcast Xfinity subscribers, Streampix has yet to make waves in the streaming video industry. But new competitors materialize every year.
In February, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) teamed up with Coinstar (NASDAQ: CSTR) to develop a streaming service involving Redbox. The new service, which will reportedly start at $6 a month for unlimited streaming and one DVD rental at a time, is expected to launch before the end of the year.
No movie or TV content deals have been announced, but many expect the deal to be huge. While Streampix is the cheapest service at just $5 a month, the Verizon/Redbox service would be the cheapest streaming/DVD combo available.
Last summer, Netflix angered thousands of customers and endangered the company's future when it announced that it would raise the price of its streaming/DVD combo from $10 to $16. The company attempted to stifle customer complaints by separating its DVD and streaming businesses. But mass confusion and additional customer complaints forced the company to reverse that decision.
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