When Netflix declined to renew its licensing deal with Viacom, it lost streaming rights to a bunch of beloved kids’ shows like Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants. Amazon was there to wipe away kids’ tears, since it streams the shows through Prime Instant Video. And on Tuesday, it announced it’s locked up the rights that Netflix lost through a “multi-year, multi-national” streaming deal that will place hundreds of Viacom shows on Prime.
Some of those will be exclusive — the press release doesn’t make clear which ones, but an Amazon spokeswoman verified for me that Nick Jr. shows like Dora, Blue’s Clues and The Backyardigans will be exclusive to Prime, while Nickeloden shows like SpongeBob are exclusive “in terms of digital video subscription services” but will still be available through sources like Viacom’s Nickelodeon app. In addition, Viacom says that recent episodes of some shows are still available on Hulu Plus. From the release:
“Prime members will now have unlimited instant streaming access to popular kids programming such as Bubble Guppies, The Backyardigans, Team Umizoomi, Blue’s Clues and Victorious, along with top-rated shows from MTV and Comedy Central like Awkward, Tosh.0 and Workaholics. Prime members will also have access to future episodes of Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Fairly Odd Parents, Fresh Beat Band and more. LOVEFiLM customers in the UK and Germany will get some of the same great shows later this summer.”
Some shows from Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. will also be available through Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, Amazon’s monthly content subscription service for kids.
A source tells AllThingsD that this is “the company’s biggest licensing outlay to date,” but the company has been working hard to lock down exclusive streaming rights for awhile. This year, for instance, it got those rights to Downton Abbey: Starting June 18, Amazon will be the only place that viewers can stream the third season of the BBC hit, with seasons 1 and 2 going exclusive later in the year. It also has exclusives on FX’s Justified and the CBS Stephen King summer drama Under the Dome.