Amazon writes huge check for video rights to Dora, SpongeBob

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Amazon.com Inc wrote its largest-ever check for a subscription-streaming deal, securing hundreds of mostly childrens’ TV programs from Viacom Inc for its Internet video service and ratcheting up pressure on rival Netflix.

Amazon’s deal with Viacom gives the world’s largest Internet retailer broader access to hit shows including “Dora the Explorer” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.” Netflix had previously conceded that losing access to those shows would be a blow.

Amazon agreed to pay more than $200 million to Viacom for the license, its largest subscription-streaming transaction ever, a person familiar with the deal said. A second person familiar said the deal would run more than two years and included a deeper library of content than the prior Netflix agreement.

The Amazon-Viacom pact comes just days after Netflix stopped streaming popular Nickelodeon programming, following the expiration of its deal with the company.

The deal includes about 4,000 TV episodes that will be available to stream for free on Amazon Prime Instant Video. This service is free for subscribers to Amazon’s Prime program, which, for $79 a year offers free two-day shipping in the United States for items purchased through Amazon.

Part of the payment went to secure exclusive subscription streaming rights to several shows from Viacom’s Nick Jr channel, including the “Dora” franchise, “Go Diego Go!,” “Blue’s Clues” and “The Backyardigans.”

Amazon is spending heavily on video content as it competes with Netflix and Hulu for a piece of the fast-growing market for TV and movies delivered over the Internet. Childrens’ shows are among the most-watched on Amazon’s service, according to Bill Carr, the company’s vice president for digital video and music.

Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings, in a CNBC interview last week, said his service still had plenty of content for children but losing the Viacom programming could hurt.

“If you’re a parent and your child’s looking for ‘Blue’s Clues,’ you know, that is definitely a problem,” he said, while noting that Netflix still has programming from the likes of Disney and Cartoon Network.

In early May, Netflix announced a new multiyear license agreement with Walt Disney Co that gave Netflix the exclusive right to stream “Jake and the Never Land Pirates,” along with access to other Disney shows including “Handy Manny.”

Viacom’s shares rose 1 percent to $67.575 in morning trading, while Netflix shares were up 1.4 percent at $225. Amazon gained 44 cents to $267.34.

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

DA: Homeless man severely beat by men in…

Two former college football players pleaded not guilty to the alleged severe beating of a homeless man in Allston earlier this year.

National

Hamas, Abbas's PLO announce reconciliation agreement

The Gaza-based Islamist group Hamas and President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) agreed on Wednesday to a unity pact.

Local

Reports: Dead man pulled from water at Boston's…

A dead man was reportedly pulled from the water at Boston's Long Wharf Wednesday afternoon, according to the Boston Fire Department.

Local

Primark to make US debut in Boston

Dublin retailer Primark will make its U.S. debut with a store at the former Filene's site in Boston.

Going Out

Thursty: Revamped Audubon is back in action

Having been a long time fan of Trina's Starlite Lounge in Inman Square, one of my only complaints about the place is that there's only…

Entertainment

Here's what to do in Boston this weekend

MUSIC Huun Huur Tu Friday, 8 p.m. First Church in Cambridge 11 Garden St., Cambridge $28, 617-876-4275 www.worldmusic.org This group comes from the tiny nation…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, April 23: 'Suburgatory,' 'Modern…

'Suburgatory' The men of "Suburgatory" go camping and Tessa mentors a social outcast in a Miss Chatswin contest, which brings her, once again, into conflict…

The Word

The best lines from Oprah's ex-stepmother's Daily Mail…

Oprah’s ex-stepmother, Barbara Winfrey, is out for revenge.

MLB

Fantasy baseball: Searching for early season prospects

It’s relatively rare for a mediocre 30-year-old hitter to suddenly go nuts offensively for 162 games. That’s why minor league prospects are so exciting.

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC 'targeting' US international Mix Diskerud

Metro New York has learned Mix Diskerud has drawn “interest” from the expansion MLS side, NYCFC.

MLB

Statistics show plate approach for Red Sox has…

Statistics show plate approach for Red Sox has been off so far in 2014

MLB

MLB video highlights: Yankees rout Red Sox, 9-3

Jon Lester allows eight runs in 4 2/3 innings taking loss

Style

Pippa Middleton's Etsy pick: Golden Thread Jewelry

Get a look at the jewelry Pippa Middleton loves and find out how you can buy it too.

Parenting

What every parent needs to know to get…

Mom and author of "Small Talk," Tracey Blake, shares her five practical tips to help you develop your children's language skills.

Sex

Subway crush: Meet your soulmate on your commute

Read about a couple who has been 40 years after meeting on the train.

Tech

Happy birthday, Game Boy! The handheld console turns…

Nintendo's Game Boy turns 25 this week. To commemorate, we look at some of its better games, like "Tetris" and "The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening."