Amazon.com deepened its investment in family-friendly programming through an expanded licensing deal with PBS Digital that will bring hundreds of TV episodes to its Prime Instant Video streaming service -- including additional installments of such PBS Kids shows as "Caillou," "Arthur" and "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood."
The online retailer has been investing heavily in content as it seeks to challenge the dominance of Netflix -- especially when it comes to young viewers. This month, Amazon inked a deal with Viacom that expanded its content library and brought more of the best-known shows in children's programming, including Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants," "Dora the Explorer" and "Blue's Clues."
"This deal is exciting for Prime members and particularly for those with families," Brad Beale, Amazon's director of digital video content acquisition, said in a statement.
The PBS licensing agreement provides past seasons of such shows as "Nova" and "Masterpiece" as well as Ken Burns documentaries, in addition to the children's programming. This year, Amazon secured the exclusive subscription video rights to "Downton Abbey" -- which will be available later this year.
Netflix, meanwhile, announced it would add 300 hours of original programming from DreamWorks Animation to its service. The agreement marks the largest deal for original first-run content in Netflix history and also is the first time DreamWorks Animation’s characters will be introduced into the television market as a branded collection of shows.
Each subscription service is vying for consumers, who spend an increasing amount of their time watching video on portable devices and through so-called "over the top" Internet services that bypass traditional pay TV distributors.
Amazon's Prime Instant Video now offers more than 41,000 movies and TV shows to subscribers, who pay an annual $79 fee for two-day shipping and unlimited streaming of videos.
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