Right now, cord-cutting Downton Abbey fans have several options for streaming previous of the show: Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon, as well as PBS’s own website for current-season episodes. Later this year, though, options will be much more limited: Amazon said Friday that by the end of 2013, Prime Instant Video will be the exclusive paid streaming service to allow access to the show.
Users of other services should watch the show while they can. Netflix only has Season 1, which a source familiar with the deal says it will lose on July 1, while Hulu Plus has Seasons 1 and 2.
A press release lays out the timing:
Beginning June 18, 2013, Prime Instant Video will be the exclusive subscription service for streaming the all-new Season 3 of Downton Abbey, and later this year, no digital subscription service other than Prime Instant Video will offer any seasons of Downton Abbey. Prime Instant Video will continue to be the exclusive subscription home through Season 4 and, if produced, Season 5 of Downton Abbey.
It’s easy to see why Amazon wants this deal. Downton Abbey is ”the most popular TV series with Prime Instant Video customers, ever,” the company said.
Fans should still be able to watch new episodes on PBS.org and will continue to be able to buy individual episodes and seasons from iTunes and Amazon.