Amazon has signed a multi-year streaming agreement with premium movie and film service Epix, in a deal that marks the end of Netflix’s exclusive tie-up with the firm.
The deal, which adds thousands of new release films, library content and original programmes to Amazon’s subscription-based Prime Instant Video Service in the US, means Netflix will now share the rights to new releases like The Avengers, Iron Man 2, The Hunger Games and Transformers Dark of the Moon.
News of the deal sent Netflix’s share price down by more than 6% yesterday to US$55.93, wiping around US$200m off the value of the company.
Amazon also announced that its Prime Instant Video catalogue now includes more than 25,000 movies and TV episodes.
“We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the Prime Instant Video library for our customers. We have now more than doubled this selection of movies and TV episodes in just under a year,” said Bill Carr, VP of video and music at Amazon.
In its Q2 earnings announcement in July, Netflix said in a letter to shareholders that the exclusivity of its Epix deal, which it signed in 2010, “expires shortly, but our agreement to carry Epix content non-exclusively runs through mid-2013.
“On the strength of Paramount’s and Lionsgate’s film slates in 2011 and 2012, Epix has become a great product and we look forward to our ongoing relationship.”
Launched in 2009, Epix is a joint venture between Viacom, its Paramount Pictures unit, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc, and Lionsgate. The firm has distribution deals with TV service providers including Dish Network, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, Mediacom Communications and Verizon FiOS.
The news comes ahead of an Amazon press event on Thursday where the firm is expected to introduce a new version of its Kindle Fire tablet. Introduced in the US last year, the device includes a month’s free trial of Amazon Prime – a US$79 per-year service that includes unlimited access to Amazon Prime Instant Video, free two-day shipping of physical goods and the ability to borrow one Kindle book per month.