Viacom Deal Brings More Shows to Amazon Prime Streaming

Amazon's Growing Library Is Getting Closer to That of Netflix

By Published on .

Snooki on 'Jersey Shore'
Snooki on 'Jersey Shore'
Most Popular
Viacom is bringing "Jersey Shore," "Hot in Cleveland" and "SpongeBob SquarePants" to Amazon Prime.

The two companies announced a licensing agreement on Wednesday that will allow Prime members to stream content from Viacom 's bevy of networks, including MTV , Nickelodeon, TV Land, Comedy Central and VH1. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.

The new content expands Amazon Prime's streaming library to include more than 15,000 movie and TV titles, compared to more than 20,000 titles at rival Netflix.

Amazon is likely to sign up additional TV networks soon, an analyst predicted. "We continue to believe that Discovery and Scripps Networks, as well as Time Warner , will ultimately sign deals with Amazon over the next couple of quarters," UBS analyst John Janedis wrote in a research note on Wednesday.

The Viacom deal comes amid speculation that Amazon is preparing to roll out a standalone streaming service separate from its $79.99 annual Prime membership that provides users with free two-day shipping.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said during the company's fourth-quarter conference call that he expects Amazon to launch a standalone video-streaming service that 's priced below Netflix.

For Viacom , the deal comes as industry insiders and analysts question whether video-streaming services like Netflix are cannibalizing ratings . Following the plunge in Nickelodeon's ratings at the end of 2011, some analysts suggested the decline stemmed partly from Nickelodeon shows' availability on Netflix, particularly because young children are less set on watching TV live.

But Viacom CEO Phillippe Dauman said on an earnings call last week that Netflix is not to blame and that the company would continue to pursue similar deals with other digital services. "We look at that very closely, and we don't think that the availability of the limited amount of Nickelodeon library content that we have on Netflix has had a significant impact on the ratings ," he said.

The universe of Netflix viewers is a "rather small fraction" of the overall TV audience, Mr. Dauman noted, and Nickelodeon streams on Netflix were "pretty much the same" between the summer and the fall. "So there's no real change that accounted for the fall's drop, which we did not see in the summer," he said. "So there could have been some minimal impact, but it certainly does not account for the ratings drop that we saw."

~ ~ ~
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article erroneously said Viacom 's deal pushed Amazon 's streaming library above 14,000 movies and episodes of TV shows.

In this article: