Amazon Steals Spongebob Squarepants From Netflix
Amazon appeared to accelerate its online streaming competition with Netflix on Tuesday when it reportedly agreed to pay Viacom $200 million for content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central. The acquisitions also boosted Amazon's Prime Instant Video library to more than 41,000 titles amidst predictions that it could rise to 50,000 by the end of the year. (It launched in February, 2011 with about 5,000 titles.) The website SeekingAlpha.com described Amazon's latest deal as another shot across the Netflix bow and questioned whether Netflix's decision to acquire original programming may impede its ability to hold on to popular programming it already has. Netflix may have the high profile originals to its name, but is it starting to cost the company in terms of its overall selection? the website asked. Another analyst, Todd Juenger with Sanford Bernstein, raised questions about the longterm benefit to Viacom of Tuesday's streaming deal. Certainly it will look good on Viacom's balance sheet this year, he observed. But it begs the question, how will Viacom be able to grow SVOD [subscription video on demand) revenue in the following years, considering the Amazon deal is multiyear and includes exclusive elements? However, today's (Wednesday) New York Times points out that the Viacom/Amazon deal also gives Amazon an opportunity to push Nickelodeon merchandise at its online store. They're a very consumer driven company and they also connect our Nickelodeon content to products, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told the Times.