Amazon.com, keeping the pressure on Netflix in angling for TV content deals, announced a pact with Starz Digital Media for “The White Queen” making Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-subscription service in the U.S. to carry the cabler’s historical drama miniseries.
The deal marks the first of its kind between Amazon and Starz Digital Media in the U.S. The 10-episode “White Queen” miniseries originally aired on Starz in the summer of 2013; it will remain available on Starz platforms.
“The White Queen,” based on the historical novels from Philippa Gregory’s bestselling series “The Cousins’ War,” is set during England’s War of the Roses and tells the story of three women vying for England’s throne.
The series stars Rebecca Ferguson and Janet McTeer, who were individually nominated for Golden Globe Awards based on their performance as Queen Elizabeth and Jacquetta Woodville, respectively. Max Irons and James Frain are also featured in the respective roles of King Edward IV and Richard Neville. “The White Queen,” filmed in Belgium, was produced by Company Pictures, Playground Entertainment and ALL3Media.
The Amazon deal will expand exposure to “one of our miniseries from the growing library of programming found on the Starz channels and services,” said Mara Winokur, Starz’s senior VP of digital. The premium cabler is hoping the deal will help drive consumers back to its pay-TV subscription service.
In vying with Netflix, Amazon has kept up its investment in licensing content for Prime Instant Video, including its deal with HBO for exclusive SVOD rights to older original series and programming.
Amazon also is preparing to produce or acquire up to a dozen movies per year as part of Amazon Studios. The studio won its first major award for original series “Transparent,” which took home the Golden Globe for best TV musical or comedy series while star Jeffrey Tambor won for best actor in the category.
Amazon doesn’t disclose specific figures for the Prime service, which offers free shipping as well as access to Prime Instant Video, music and other content. The company had at least 50 million Prime members worldwide as of October 2014, implying at least 37 million in the U.S., per a survey by Morgan Stanley. But it’s not clear how many of those access Prime Instant Video on a regular basis.