Amazon has increased its presence in the streaming video market in a big way, striking a partnership deal announced Wednesday with Viacom to stream shows from Viacom properties including MTV and Nickelodeon. Amazon Prime members will have access to these programs as part of their membership, with access to over 2000 Viacom titles beginning immediately, with more to follow in the coming weeks.
The deal expands the total number of Amazon streaming titles to 15,000 and represents an increase in spending for such content.
"Users are showing more interest in bingeing on video -- or watching a series from episode one to the end," said Amazon director of video-content acquisition, Brad Beale in an interview related to the announcement. "Amazon will be expanding content offerings as customer demand increases. We’re going to continue working on adding more content to Prime." However, he did add that "I can’t peg a particular budget number."
That's likely because Amazon is considering a massive increase. The company currently spends around 400 million on their streaming video licensing, compared to Netflix's approximate 1 billion annual expenditures. Even so, Amazon streaming video customers doubled in size in the final quarter of 2011 compared to 2010. As Netflix continues to decline, access to shows like Jersey Shore could help tip the balance further, even if they may also result in diminished mental capacity.