Updated. Amazon is ramping up the content available to users of its annual Amazon Prime subscription service in an effort to compete with similar services from and Hulu. It has also just acquired connected device app maker PushButton, which could help it to expand the number of devices on which viewers can access its Prime Instant Movies service.
As part of its content acquisition initiative, Amazon announced last week that it added 2,000 new videos from CBS . The company followed that up Thursday with an additional 1,000 videos from NBC Universal . Those deals will greatly enhance its video library by boosting the amount of content available through its subscription streaming video service by 50 percent, from about 6,000 titles to 9,000 in just the past week.
The NBC Universal deal, like the CBS one that came before it, mostly focuses on long-tail content, including older movies. Films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Gosford Park and Elizabeth will now be available for Amazon Prime customers. And continuing the company’s focus on kids’ content like Sesame Street, the company has also added movies like Babe and Jetsons: The Movie.
In addition, Amazon has also bought PushButton, a firm that specializes in building connected TV apps. PushButton built apps for European-based streaming player LoveFilm, which Amazon acquired earlier this year. Those apps were used by LoveFilm to reach consumers on the Sony PlayStation 3, Sony Bravia TVs and Samsung Smart TVs. Amazon Prime Instant Videos
has a somewhat limited reach in the connected TV space now — at least, is available on more than 300 connected devices, compared to the 250-plus devices that Netflix is available on and the 300-plus that Vudu claims to work on. But with PushButton, it could quickly change that to become even more competitive in the connected device market.
With an expanded content library and a key asset acquired to help it play in the consumer electronics market, we could see Amazon become much more aggressive in its pursuit of Netflix. And it couldn’t have come at a better time: With Netflix customer approval at what seems like an all-time low, Amazon Prime could have a real opportunity to win over some of its customers with a slightly cheaper annual subscription that also includes free shipping.
Update: Amazon Prime Instant Videos is on more connected devices than we thought. Amazon claims availability on 300 connected TVs and other devices.