February 9, 2012, 11:47 AM

Amazon closes another deal for streaming TV shows

Amazon Prime members can view shows online from MTV and Comedy Central.

Stefany Moore

Associate Director of Research

Lead Photo

Amazon.com Inc. has inked a deal with Viacom to enable customers to stream 2,000 more television shows online, the retailer says. The Viacom agreement is the latest in a series of deals Amazon has announced with movie studios and TV networks in recent months, bringing the total number of titles offered 15,000.

Prime members pay $79 per year for free two-day shipping on Amazon.com and get access to the e-retailer’s Instant Video program, which allows customers to watch TV shows and movies on their PCs or mobile devices.

The new deal with Viacom will enable Amazon Prime members to stream shows from MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Spike, VH1, BET, CMT and Logo; programs include “Jersey Shore,” “The Real World,” “Chappelle's Show” and “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

“This deal with Viacom brings Prime customers and Kindle Fire users thousands of comedies, kids’ shows, reality TV and much more,” say Brad Beale, director of video content acquisition for Amazon. “We now offer more than 15,000 movies and TV shows in Prime Instant Videos and are working hard to add even more great content.” Kindle Fire is Amazon’s tablet computer.

Amazon’s home page today features a letter from CEO Jeff Bezos alerting consumers to the new deal with Viacom and offering a free 30-day trial of Amazon Prime.

A growing number of retailers, including Sears, Wal-Mart, Apple and Blockbuster, are getting into the streaming video business, competing with market leader Netflix Inc. Amazon is increasing its focus in this area and has recently announced similar digital video deals with CBS, Fox, Warner Bros., Sony and NBC.

Also, earlier this week, Verizon announced plans to offer a streaming video subscription service with DVD rental company Redbox Automated Retail, LLC.

Amazon is No. 1 in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide. Sears is No. 7, Apple is No. 3, Wal-Mart is No. 6 and Blockbuster is No. 42.

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