The agreement with MGM, holder of one of Hollywood’s most valuable libraries of older movies and TV shows, increases Amazon’s streaming catalog depth to about 18,000 films and episodes — not quite at the level of Netflix’s 60,000, but growing fast.
The MGM deal adds well-known film titles including Dances With Wolves, Silence of the Lambs, Rain Man and The Terminator. As important, it bolsters Prime’s depth in the area of TV re-runs, which has been a key selling point for rival Netflix.
TV series added to the mix include ABC’s ’80s-era baby-boomer classic Thirtysomething, Showtime series Dead Like Me and syndicated action hours Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe.
For now, Amazon’s subscription instant video service remains an add-on feature for those who pay $79 year for the online retailer’s Prime offering, which gives customers free shipping on merchandise.
But Amazon is reportedly interested in opening up the service to non-Prime members, and more effectively using its streaming business to support sales of its Kindle Fire tablet. Building out a robust programming library is key part of that process.
With a deal announced two weeks ago to stream films from Paramount Pictures, Amazon has now licensed programming from each of Hollywood’s major studios.