Amazon Prime's instant video service works similarly to Netflix and somewhat separately from Amazon's on demand a la carte offerings. The latter lets you purchase and download or stream new episodes of current series about a day after they air. Like Netflix, Amazon's Prime service offers a limited selection of older films and TV shows, which can be viewed as frequently as subscribers wish and is included in the cost of the Prime subscription (currently $79 a year). The deal Amazon and CBS have struck for the network's upcoming series adaptation of Stephen King's Under the Dome sounds like the best (or close to it) of what both features have to offer, in that Prime subscribers will have access to new episodes of Under the Dome just a few days after they air online.
The series comes from Steven Spielberg and Stephen King and is based on King's book, which is set in a New England town that suddenly finds itself encased in an invisible, impenetrable dome. Casting is underway and CBS even released a teaser reminding us that the dome drops June 24. And today Deadline reports that Amazon and CBS struck a deal, which will make new episodes available to Prime subscribers just four days after it airs on CBS.
“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,” said Chief Corporate Content Licensing Officer for CBS Corp., Scott Koondel.
He brings up a good point. One of the benefits of Netflix, Amazon Prime and other streaming video services is that it allows viewers to get caught up on shows between seasons. Once upon a time, if you missed the first couple of seasons of a show, there was virtually no way to get caught up and jump in later on in the series. But making the episodes available while the season is airing could have more immediate benefits for the series' ratings, should people miss the first few episodes and want to get caught up as the first season is airing.
It'll be interesting to see how this works out for CBS and Amazon Prime. If the arrangement works well, perhaps we'll see more deals like this in the future. That would put them more in league with Hulu Plus. Meanwhile, it's another win for Prime, which recently acquired the exclusive rights to Downton Abbey. The Prime subscription also includes other benefits like free two-day shipping on all eligible products.
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