Amazon continues to show that it is serious this time about challenging Netflix and Apple when it comes to streaming media to tablets. In the run-up to the Nov. 15 launch of Kindle Fire, the online retailer announced a deal with PBS to carry archived PBS programming in its streaming media library for Amazon Prime members.
More than 1,000 episodes from the series “NOVA,” “Masterpiece” and “Antiques Roadshow” will be included in the licensed package. Also in the mix will be the popular Ken Burns documentary series “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz” and “The National Parks” – and the recently aired Burns series “Prohibition” will be offered free to Amazon’s Prime customers. PBS news-oriented programs like “Frontline” will be available in the Amazon library the day after they air.
Unlike other streaming media providers, Amazon’s Prime bundle joins free shipping privileges to its e-retail stores with access to a streaming video library from PCs as well as select devices like Google TV and Roku boxes.
With the PBS deal, Amazon increases its Instant Video library to 12,000 items that will be available by the end of the year. The company has already struck licensing deals with CBS, Fox, NBCUniversal, Sony and Warner Bros.
Amazon plans to give new Kindle owners a free month of Prime membership when they purchase the device. Prime membership normally costs $79 a year. The Instant Video system just added TV shows such as “24 Hours,” “The Wonder Years,” and “Arrested Development.”
Amazon is positioning the Kindle Fire as a media consumption device and so further re-orienting its site to media distribution. In addition to the Instant Video library that rolled out in the last year, the Amazon App Store features apps for the Android mobile operating system, many of which will be compatible with the Android-powered Kindle Fire. Amazon has been building its digital libraries beyond e-books for the past year but it is only with the Amazon Kindle Fire that the company has its own device to carry this media.