October 21, 2011, 12:00 PM

Amazon adds more on-demand PBS content

The deal with PBS raises the number of Amazon instant videos to 12,000.

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Amazon.com Inc. has expanded its licensing agreement with PBS Distribution to make more public television programs available to Amazon customers through the online retailer’s Instant Video service.

The expansion means Amazon will have 12,000 videos available for members of its Amazon Prime program to stream free of charge by the end of the year. Consumers pay $79 annually to be part of Amazon Prime, which includes free two-day shipping on all Amazon orders. Consumers who are not members of Amazon Prime typically pay about $1.99 to stream a program.

The PBS deal adds about 1,000 episodes of PBS programs including “Nova,” “Antiques Roadshow” and “The French Chef.” The deal also covers several Ken Burns documentary series, such as “The Civil War,” “Baseball” and “Jazz.” PBS news programs “Frontline” and “Washington Week” will be available for streaming the day after they air.

Amazon has signed similar deals this year with Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures and CBS Corp. Brad Beale, Amazon’s director of video content acquisition, says the e-retailer is committed to adding more content soon.

More consumers are likely to try out Amazon’s Instant Video service this holiday season. Amazon will begin shipping its tablet computer, dubbed the Kindle Fire, Nov. 15. The tablet comes with a free month’s membership to Amazon Prime, including access to Instant Video. Amazon has not disclosed Kindle sales figures, but industry estimates say 95,000 Kindle Fires were pre-ordered the first day the product was available for sale. Investment bank Barclays PLC estimates Amazon will sell 4.5 million Kindle Fires by the end of the year and 15.3 million in 2012.

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