Amazon said on Monday that it has scored exclusive rights to not only sell episodes of CBS' upcoming TV series Under The Dome based on the (massive) Stephen King novel, but to make each episode available four days after they have aired. In-season availability will be offered through Amazon's Prime Instant Video subscription service only.
Under The Dome will be brought to the small screen thanks to Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television as a serialized drama starting June 24, 2013. It will focus on how citizens of a small New England town deal with isolation as an enormous transparent dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. The Stephen King book was originally published in 2009 and quickly became a #1 best-seller.
While it's no surprise that Under The Dome has been translated for the small screen, what is surprising is that CBS has struck this exclusivity deal with Amazon. The network typically hoards its own shows save for a few older series offered through Hulu Plus. Even more, Amazon was to blame for Under The Dome publisher Simon & Schuster to conspire with Apple and four other publishers to inflate ebook prices.
Perhaps then this exclusivity is some kind of compensation for the online retailer and part of the publisher's licensing agreement enforced on CBS?
"Amazon has the distinct combination of having a terrific video service with a huge fan base among their customers for Stephen King’s book, making them the perfect partner for this summer programming event," said Scott Koondel, Chief Corporate Content Licensing Officer, CBS Corporation. "With this innovative agreement, we’re giving fans more options to watch and stay current with this serialized series, and doing so in a way that protects the Television Network’s C3 advertising window."
This isn't the first exclusive TV series scored by Amazon. Just last week the online retailer announced that Downtown Abbey from PSB now has an exclusive home on Amazon Prime Instant Video. Season 1 and 2 are available for watching now, and come June 18, Season 3. Prime Instant Video will continue to be the exclusive subscription home through Season 4 and, if produced, Season 5, the company said.
As for Under The Dome, Neal Baer, Stephen King, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Stacey Snider and Brian K. Vaughan, who wrote the television adaptation, will serve as executive producers. Niels Arden Oplev (Unforgettable, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) will direct the first episode.