Amazon Snags Universal Movies

Last month, Amazon did a deal with CBS for television episode content to stream to its Amazon Prime members. Now it has added movies from Comcast’s Universal Pictures catalog, including popular titles such as “Notting Hill,” “Being John Malkovich”, “Fletch,” and “Billy Elliott.” According to an Amazon press release, this brings the service’s total count to more than 9,000 movies and TV show episodes.

I have to wonder whether or not Amazon poses a credible threat to the two streaming video leaders. There certainly is an argument to be made that quality beats quantity, but Amazon’s 9,000 choices pale in the face of the overwhelming choices from Netflix. The company doesn’t publish their counts, but various sources estimate that Netflix has between two and six times as many choices as Amazon. And while much of Netflix content is B-grade at best, it also has some top shelf content including an exclusive on the popular series, “Mad Men.”

From where I stand, it’s too soon to count Amazon out, but it still has a long way to go to catch up. Netflix has a commanding lead, and if the right company purchases Hulu, it could remain the other top dog in the pack. Amazon will need a few more announcements before it will start racking up subscribers to match Netflix and Hulu.