With Viacom deal, Amazon looks like a real competitor to Netflix

Amazon (s AMZN) continues to ramp up the amount of video content it offers for free to its Amazon Prime subscribers. On Wednesday it announced a deal with Viacom (s VIA) that will bring the number of titles available as part of its Prime Instant Videos service to more that 15,000, or three times the amount of content it launched the service with.
We’ve included a list of the programming Amazon picked up below from Viacom networks such as Comedy Central, MTV and Nickelodeon. Perhaps most interesting in the list are MTV hit Jersey Shore and a wide range of Nickelodeon programming, which could help Amazon enamor itself to subscribers with children.
But the one thing that’s missing from the service is the ability to subscribe without linking the service to Amazon Prime, which gives customers free two-day shipping. While it’s a nice perk, especially to Amazon Prime subscribers like me who overuse the free shipping, not everyone is as interested in that part of the offering. That’s rumored to change, as Amazon could unbundle the video offering from the Prime subscription.
If it ever does roll out a standalone service, Amazon’s quick addition of new content puts it in a position to be a real competitor to Netflix, (s NFLX) which is slowly rebounding from last summer’s price increase and customer dissatisfaction around its plans to unbundle and rebrand its DVD-by-mail service. While Netflix’s domestic subscriptions have begun growing again after a down third quarter, the company is seeing increased competition from the likes of Amazon, Hulu Plus and will soon face a new streaming service from Redbox (s CSTR) and Verizon. (s VZ)
New Viacom content on Amazon Prime Instant Videos includes:

  • Comedy Central: Chappelle’s Show, The Sarah Silverman Program
  • MTV: Jersey Shore, The Hard Times of RJ Berger, The Hills
  • Nickelodeon: iCarly, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Yo Gabba Gabba
  • Spike: Deadliest Warrior: The Show and the Aftermath
  • TV Land: Hot in Cleveland
  • VH1: Love & Hip Hop, Mob Wives