Amazon shakes hands with Viacom

Marc Sanchez Feb 8, 2012

Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, can predict the future. Remember a couple weeks back when Hastings told shareholders that Amazon was going to start a rival movie-streaming business? According to Reuters, Amazon is about to fulfill the prophecy. It just announced a deal with Viacom, which will bring a couple thousand new shows to the site. The deal is being seen as one of the last steps before going all-in on a standalone, streaming service.

Viacom will bring some heavy hitters onto Amazon screens with the likes of MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Comedy Central, and BET, among others. Let’s not forget that Amazon already offers a streaming rental service bundled up with lots of free rentals for its Prime customers. From Reuters: “The retailer said last month the number of videos purchased or rented from Amazon Instant Video, as well as the number of customers, more than doubled in the fourth quarter from the year before. It also said the number of Prime Instant Video streams rose nearly 300 percent during the quarter.” Based on those numbers, there’s clearly a hole to be filled when it comes to streaming, especially in the mobile market, which has a kind of Wild West feel to it right now. With Monday’s announcement from Verizon and Redbox to also start a streaming service, I smell a price war coming.

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