Amazon.com Inc., stepping up competition with Netflix Inc. and Hulu LLC, reached an agreement enabling customers to view certain movies from Universal Pictures online.
The deal with NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution adds films to Amazon Prime’s streaming-video service, the Seattle- based company said in a statement today. Oscar-winning movies such as “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Gosford Park,” and “Elizabeth” are part of the pact.
Amazon Prime is a membership program that gives subscribers discounts on shipping for an annual fee of $79. In a push to challenge Netflix and Hulu, Amazon said in February it would offer Prime customers unlimited access to an online library. Last week, Amazon announced an agreement with CBS that expanded that library to more than 8,000 movies and TV shows. The NBC deal today propels that catalog to more than 9,000.
Netflix offers more than 20,000 movies and TV shows online, according to Steve Swasey, a spokesman.
Hulu, a Los Angeles-based Web service that streams TV shows, is soliciting takeover bids. The company, owned by Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal, is offering suitors five years of access to shows, including two years of exclusivity, two people with knowledge of the situation said July 19.
Amazon’s shares rose $1.04 to $221.48 at 9:37 a.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock had climbed 24 percent this year before today.
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