Amazon.com is now streaming “Wallace and Gromit,” “Shaun the Sheep” and other animated series and specials under an exclusive licensing pact with Aardman Animations on its Prime Instant Video service in the U.S.
The deal, which does not cover the “Wallace and Gromit” feature films, also includes episodes of Aardman’s “Timmy Time” and “Rex the Runt.” In addition, new shows from “Shaun the Sheep” seasons 3 and 4 and the “Timmy Time” series will be added to Prime Instant Video, along with the “Shaun the Sheep: Championsheeps” special and two new “Timmy Time” specials.
The pact highlights the importance of children’s content in the subscription VOD space, as Amazon bulks up on kidvids to vie with Netflix in the category. Amazon this month signed an exclusive deal to offer episodes of HIT Entertainment’s British preschool TV series “Fireman Sam” to U.S. members, along with an e-commerce component for show-related products. Last month Amazon Studios debuted its first original kids’ series, “Tumble Leaf,” and is set to launch two others this summer.
Aardman’s shows are known for their distinctive, time-consuming stop-motion animation style, starting with worldwide sensation “Wallace and Gromit,” winner of two Academy Awards for its short films. “Wallace and Gromit” led to several spinoff series, including “Shaun the Sheep” and “Timmy Time,” which are aimed at younger viewers.
“’Wallace and Gromit,’ ‘Shaun the Sheep’ and the other Aardman shows have a wide-reaching fan base, and we know Prime members will enjoy watching these shows at no extra charge as part of their Prime membership,” said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon.
Aardman is producing a full-length feature film based on “Shaun the Sheep,” slated for theatrical release in the spring of 2015. “As we get ready to release our ‘Shaun the Sheep’ feature film next year, we know that Prime members will be eager to catch up on all the past adventures of their favorite animated characters,” commented Robin Gladman, digital content and partner manager at Aardman Animations.