It just goes to show that one on-demand streaming service’s lapsed content license is another one’s treasure.
After disappearing from Netflix Instant last month (to the horror of parents and toddlers alike), popular kids’ series like “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Blue’s Clues” have found a new home on Amazon.
Today, the Seattle-based company announced that it has signed a multi-year licensing agreement with Viacom that will give Amazon Prime subscribers access to more than 250 additional TV seasons and thousands of episodes from Nick Jr., Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central.
Some of that content, including shows like “Dora,” “The Backyardigans” and “The Fresh Beat Band,” will be exclusive to Amazon's Prime Instant Video service.
“Kids’ shows are one of the most watched TV genres on Prime Instant Video,” said Bill Carr, VP of Digital Video and Music for Amazon in a statement released via the Amazon website. “This expanded deal will now bring customers the largest subscription selection of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. TV shows online, anywhere.”
Amazon’s announcement comes only weeks after Netflix unexpectedly opted not to renew its Nickelodeon license, choosing instead to “focus on exclusive and curated content” over bulk deals like the one with Viacom.
That decision has earned a lot of criticism, though, particularly from parents whose kids watched some of the shows no longer available, and Netflix’s Get Satisfaction consumer support site has been inundated with complaints.
“Kids do not know about, or care about, or understand things like ‘our licensing deal expired,’ ” said one customer. “Is that what I am supposed to tell them when their favorite shows disappear?”
Another wrote, “You made my three-year-old daughter cry. She is crying right now because Dora is gone and it's ALL. YOUR. FAULT.”
Responding to some of the comments, a Netflix employee suggested, “This may be a great time for the little ones to expand their horizons and explore new content.”
To this, another customer wrote, “Amazon Prime and Apple are the new horizons that we'll be exploring.”
But Netflix subscribers haven’t been left completely high and dry: The company still offers a wide variety of family-friendly shows, including recently added programming from Cartoon Network and DreamWorks Animation.
Last month, Netflix also expanded on a pre-existing exclusivity agreement with Disney, adding shows like “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” and “Tron: Uprising” to a library that already offered movies and TV shows from Marvel, Pixar and Lucasarts.
A native of Utah Valley and a devoted cinephile, Jeff Peterson is currently studying humanities and history at Brigham Young University.