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If you’re a Hulu fan, you have probably noticed the conspicuous absence of any current CBS shows. It’s not too surprising, given that the owners of major rivals ABC (Walt Disney Co.), NBC (Comcast), and FOX (News Corp.) are Hulu’s owners. Now comes word that CBS has signed a deal with Amazon to offer about 2,000 full-length episodes to subscribers of Amazon’s Prime service. Amazon Prime is primarily a VIP customer service, with free two-day shipping on all eligible orders in return for a $79 per year subscription fee. As a fringe benefit, however, you get free access to Amazon’s library of streaming content.

If you consider the fee as paying just for the video, however, it is just $6.59 a month which is nearly $1.50 less than the $7.99 charged by Netflix. Netflix does have a larger library, listed at about 20,000 compared with Amazon’s 8,000 titles, but this latest deal indicates that Amazon is looking to become a serious player in this market. Adding the CBS content could be a big step in that direction.

Amazon’s deal with CBS is non-exclusive, which means that you could also see the same content appear on other services. If the sale of Hulu goes through, that could help make CBS more willing to license its content there as well. The new buyers may have enough cash to make that an attractive possibility.

Posted by Alfred Poor, July 21, 2011 6:00 AM

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About Alfred Poor

Alfred Poor is a well-known display industry expert, who writes the daily HDTV Almanac. He wrote for PC Magazine for more than 20 years, and now is focusing on the home entertainment and home networking markets.