Amazon.com Inc., escalating its competition with Netflix Inc. and Hulu LLC, reached an agreement allowing customers to watch thousands of the CBS television shows online.
The non-exclusive agreement with CBS Corp. adds 2,000 episodes of shows, including full seasons of “Numb3rs” and “Medium” at no additional cost to subscribers of the Amazon Prime service, the world’s largest online retailer said today in a statement. Other terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
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. The CBS deal expands that library to more than 8,000 movies and TV shows. 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.
“This agreement could diminish the likelihood of Amazon being a buyer of Hulu since it’s going down its own path and doing separate deals with content vendors,” said James Cordwell, an equity analyst at Atlantic Equities in London who recommends Amazon shares.
Amazon, based in Seattle, fell $2.18 to $215.88 at 11:49 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares had gained 21 percent this year before today. CBS climbed 47 cents to $28.43 on the New York Stock Exchange and had increased 47 percent this year before today.
Netflix, based in Los Gatos, California, declined $7.87 to $279.42 on the Nasdaq and was up 64 percent before today. CBS and Netflix announced a two-year, non-exclusive licensing agreement for streaming content in February.
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