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Netflix: Not the Only Streamer in the Universe

By February 18, 2013

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(I)Under the Dome(/i) will be exclusive to Amazon Prime.

Under the Dome will be exclusive to Amazon Prime.

© Scribner

Online streaming is slowly upending the classic television model, and the buzz is normally all about Netflix. The entire season of Netflix's original series House of Cards has been post all at once to underline the idea that you're not watching television anymore. Netflix has gone from DVD distributor to entertainment website to iPhone app. They're an industry player, creating shows, saving shows axed by the hard-hearted broadcast networks, appealed to for the rescue of other shows.

But sci-fi fans are learning it ain't all about the Netflix. Amazon has been pushing to gain content and attention for its Amazon Prime subscription on-demand service, and after booking Falling Skies and The Closer from Turner in December, setting up an extensive content deal with the cable channel A&E, and picking up PBS's runaway hit Downton Abbey from Netflix in January, Amazon has now booked a deal with CBS for a collection of content that starts with Steven Spielberg's forthcoming Stephen King adaptation Under the Dome, which debuts on CBS June 24.

The deal for the series set up an exclusive in-season, online subscription-video-on-demand capability for the show on Amazon's Prime Instant Video service, available to customers of Amazon's Prime membership (originally known mainly for its free shipping charges in exchange for an annual fee).

Shortly after the Dome deal was inked, CBS Corporation announced a broader deal with Amazon, widening the CBS content available to Prime members to include shows like America's Next Top Model, Everybody Loves Raymond, Jericho, The L Word, Undercover Boss, and The United States of Tara.

Amazon Prime is still well behind Netflix in spending; but it clearly intends to avoid being run over by a Netflix juggernaut by forcing itself up into viable contention with Netflix as a content provider. That level of fierce competition means two things: the broadening of nonterrestrial venues for entertainment content delivery, and the proliferation of original content from sources other than the usual suspects in broadcast and cable television.
Tags: Under the Dome, Stephen King, CBS, Amazon Prime, Netflix
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