Amazon lands epic Epix film deal

Epix, the pay TV service owned by Viacom, Lionsgate and MGM, has licensed movies such as the "Avengers" and "Ironman" for Amazon's Prime Instant Video service.

Actor Chris Hemsworth stars in the comic-turned-movie "Thor." Amazon Prime customers now have access to this and many more Epix titles. Paramount Pictures

Amazon has signed a Web licensing deal , allowing it to boast that it now rents movies from every major Hollywood studio.

Epix, the pay TV service, is giving the Amazon Prime Instant Video service access to such movies as "The Hunger Games," "Super 8," and "Thor."

The move was not unexpected.

Epix, a joint venture of film studios Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate, had an exclusive Web licensing deal with Netflix, but that ran out in August.

Epix movies are still available on Netflix, but Epix didn't waste any time adding new distribution partners. Epix previously said that it would license movies for kiosk company Redbox's streaming service.

The Amazon deal is notable because the Web's biggest retailer is quickly expanding the size of its streaming library and closing the gap on rival Netflix, which has long boasted the largest selection of streaming films and TV shows.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has said that losing exclusivity on Epix didn't hurt much because Epix titles made up only a small percentage of viewing. But take that with a grain of salt. He said the same thing when Netflix couldn't come to terms with Starz, a pay-TV service that offers access to Disney and Sony Pictures titles.

Apparently, Netflix doesn't think subscribers care much about watching movies from the biggest Hollywood film studios. It will be interesting to see whether the loss of film titles or the loss of exclusive access to them will affect Netflix's subscriber growth.

This is what Amazon had to say today about the multi-year licensing deal in the U.S. with Epix:

The agreement between Amazon and EPIX will more than double the number of titles available with Prime Instant Video since Amazon introduced Kindle Fire last September. Prime Instant Video now stands at over 25,000 movies and TV episodes available to watch with instant, unlimited streaming at no additional cost to Prime members. Customers who are not yet Prime members can enjoy a free one month trial right out of the box with Kindle Fire.
 

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