Amazon Cutting New Content Deals, Trying to Get Ahead of Apple

Amazon has been working hard on improving the content that it provides through its $79 per year Prime Instant Video service – which gives customers access to unlimited TV shows and movies – in order to lure potential subscribers away from Netflix and from Apple’s iTunes movie and TV show rental/purchase service.

Today, the Seattle-based retail giant announced that it signed yet another deal, this time with Viacom, bringing in access to content from MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, TV Land, and VH1. In total, Amazon added 2,000 new TV shows and movies to Prime Instant Video, bringing the total up to 15,000 titles.

With the Nickelodeon deal, kids will be able to watch shows like Dora the Explorer, iCarly, and Yo Gabba Gabba. Adults will be able to watch MTV titles like Chapelle’s Show and Strangers with Candy, plus past seasons of The Real World and Jersey Shore.

Competing Apple and Netflix is vital for Amazon, since its Kindle Fires are sold below cost as consumption devices. Getting people to buy books and subscribe to Amazon Prime is the main way the company is making money with the seven-inch tablets. Apple currently has deals with Viacom as well, but since the Cupertino-based company has no unlimited rental service, Amazon is definitely ahead of the game. It’s Netflix that should be feeling a little bit nervous, though Amazon still has a long way to go to catch up to the king of streaming video.

Will Apple be changing to a subscription based model with the release of its rumored iTV in order to attract customers? Purchasing TV shows and movies at DVD prices isn’t going to fly with the availability of Netflix and the increasing content library of Amazon, but so far there have been no rumors of new Apple deals with content providers. One thing is for sure, if there’s one company that can overtake both Netflix and Amazon in the streaming arena, it’s Apple. It’ll be an all-out war if Apple decides to go that route.

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