Amazon Pacts With Universal to Stream Movies to Subscribers

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Bed Beach - H 2011
Focus Features

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Bed Beach - H 2011

Competing with Netflix, the online retailer now offers 9,000 TV and film titles to its Prime customers who pay $79 annually.

Continuing its chase of Netflix, struck another licensing agreement for streaming content, this time with NBC Universal for movies.

The deal announced Thursday comes a week after it struck a similar one with CBS and after Netflix re-upped with NBCU in a deal involving TV shows.

While Amazon and Universal wouldn’t disclose the number of titles involved – or any financial metrics – the arrangement puts the number of movie and TV titles that Amazon makes available to its Prime Instant Video subscribers above 9,000.

Some of the licensed film titles involved in the deal announced Thursday include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Billy Elliott, Babe, Fletch and Notting Hill.

Amazon’s offering is free to subscribers of its Prime discount shipping service, which is $79 a year. Netflix charges $96 a year for unlimited streaming. Netlix, though won’t say how many titles are available, except that it is “vastly more” that what Amazon offers.

"We are very excited to offer Prime members popular Universal films at no additional cost," Cameron Janes, director of Amazon Instant Video, said in a press release Thursday. "Our customers love movies and now we offer them more than 2,000 movies to choose from with Prime Instant Video."

When Amazon announced a week ago a deal with CBS for TV shows like Frasier, Cheers, Star Trek and The Tudors, it boasted of 8,000 titles for Prime streamers, suggesting that the arrangement disclosed Thursday involved up to 1,000 Universal movies.