It’s official: Amazon.com’s Prime Instant Video is now the exclusive streaming service for all eight seasons of Fox’s “24″ and will also be the only SVOD service to offer event series “24: Live Another Day” later this year.
Announcement comes after Netflix revealed last month that its rights to “24″ would expire April 1. Amazon wrangled the exclusive to let subscribers binge on the original real-time thriller in advance of Fox’s May 5 debut of “24: Live Another Day.”
Under Amazon’s licensing pact with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, Prime Instant Video is now the exclusive online-only subscription home for streaming all 192 episodes of the award-winning series “24,” starring Kiefer Sutherland as superagent Jack Bauer, plus the forthcoming series. Amazon will offer “24″ only to U.S. Prime members.
Deal continues Amazon’s aggressive streak in acquiring exclusive TV shows, as it vies to compete with SVOD leader Netflix. Amazon also is bringing the heat on original programming, announcing orders yesterday for six series, including Chris Carter’s supernatural drama “The After.”
Amazon recently reached a deal with 20th Century Fox Television for multiple shows and, as part of that, FX series “The Americans” became available exclusively to Prime customers Feb. 6, before season two of the Cold War-era thriller debuted Feb. 26 on the cabler.
“’24′ has been extremely popular with Amazon customers over the years,” said Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon. “Whether they are hard-core Jack Bauer fans or just discovering the series for the first time, Prime members are going to love catching up on the previous seasons of ’24′ as well as ’24: Live Another Day.’”
Set and shot in London, “24: Live Another Day” reprises the real-time format of the original show, complete with split screens and multiple storylines. Sutherland, co-star Mary Lynn Rajskub (Chloe O’Brian), producer Howard Gordon (“Homeland”), writers Evan Katz and Many Cato and director Jon Cassar have reunited for the 12-episode series. Cast also includes Benjamin Bratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Kim Raver, William Devane, Tate Donovan and Michelle Fairley.
Amazon has raised the price of the Prime free-shipping program for U.S. members, from $79 to $99 per year. However, the company has claimed rising content-licensing costs for Prime Instant Video did not figure into that price hike.
Meanwhile, the company is staging a press event Wednesday in New York to announce “an update on our video business” with Peter Larsen, VP of Amazon’s Kindle division. That event is suspected to be the unveiling of Amazon’s streaming-media device, rumored to be a dongle-like adapter similar to Google’s Chromecast that would offer Prime Instant Video, Netflix, Hulu and other services.