Amazon Nabs Exclusive Deal For FX’s ‘Justified’ On Prime Instant Video

Is this the start of a bidding war between major online video services?

on February 26 2013 10:37 AM
‘Justified
Amazon has signed a new deal with FX, gaining exclusive rights to host its show "Justified" on the Prime Instant Video service. Wikimedia Commons

Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has completed a new deal with Fox Entertainment Group’s FX TV channel to offer Prime members access to the show “Justified” for free.

The new deal marks the first time that the popular crime drama will be made available through online streaming -- well, at least legally -- and Amazon has managed to turn it into an exclusive content partnership, meaning “Justified” won’t be appearing on other premium video streaming services such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) or Hulu Plus anytime soon.

FX will also be adding one of its earlier crime shows, “The Shield,” but that deal won’t be exclusive to Amazon.

Amazon’s latest claim for an “exclusive online subscription home” comes just two weeks after the world's largest online retailer signed a similar deal with CBS (NYSE:CBS) for exclusive hosting rights to its upcoming Steven King-fueled miniseries “Under the Dome.” The Seattle, Wash.-based company also recently signed a deal with PBS for exclusive access to its wildly popular period drama “Downton Abbey.”

As the repeated use of the word “exclusive” suggests, Amazon is making a strong entrance into what’s turning into something of a bidding war between major online video services over premium content. Netflix adopted its own unique approach earlier this month when it debuted its first original series, the moody political thriller “House of Cards.” While creating original content like this might help Netflix situate itself as the “future of television” that it clearly wants to be, the $100 million it cost to produce and entice top talent like Kevin Spacey and David Fincher makes it a risky investment. Amazon, in contrast, is using its tradition of e-commerce to transition its massive online retail service into something of a media platform in its own right.

“We’re consistently looking for ways to make Prime even better -- and one of the ways we’re doing that is adding shows like these that we know customers love,” Brad Beale, Amazon’s director of digital video content acquisitions, said in a statement.

Amazon shares dropped just over 0.5 percent in morning trading Tuesday, falling to $257.60 per share.

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