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Amazon Prime Adds ‘Hannibal’ Season 1, Which NBC Hopes Will Fire Up Season 2 Ratings

Amazon.com Prime Instant Video customers will have one month to binge-watch the first season of NBC’s crime drama “Hannibal” — a windowing strategy the Peacock bets will whet appetites for the second run’s Feb. 28 premiere.

NBC’s expectation is that on-demand access to the critically acclaimed frosh sesason of “Hannibal” will pump up viewing for the TV airings. Ratings for AMC’s “Breaking Bad” appeared to benefit from Netflix’s release of the first part of season 5 shortly before the final episodes debuted on cable — with premiere on AMC garnering more than twice the audience of the prior season’s premiere.

SEE ALSO: Netflix Flexes New Muscle with ‘Breaking Bad’ Ratings Boom

Amazon obtained exclusive subscription VOD rights to “Hannibal” and four other NBCUniversal shows, under a deal the companies cut last year. The 13-episode first season of “Hannibal” became available on Prime Instant Video on Tuesday; it’s not available on any other VOD services, but is available on DVD and through electronic sell-through services including Apple’s iTunes and Amazon Video.

“Hannibal,” based on characters from Thomas Harris’ book “Red Dragon,” follows the story of the young Dr. Hannibal Lector — psychiatrist, criminal profiler and connoisseur of human flesh. Series from creator Bryan Fuller (“Pushing Daisies” and “Dead Like Me”) stars Mads Mikkelsen as Lector, and co-stars Hugh Dancy and Laurence Fishburne.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Locks Up Five NBCU Dramas, Playing Keep-Away from Netflix

“Hannibal” is from Gaumont International Television in association with Sony Pictures Television Networks. The series is also produced by Dino De Laurentiis Co. and Living Dead Guy Productions.

Amazon’s Prime membership program, $79 per year, offers free shipping on select products as well as access to a library of streaming video, which includes Amazon Studios originals “Alpha House” and “Betas.” The Prime Instant Video service competes most directly with Netflix.

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