Amazon Deal with NBC Universal Challenges Netflix and Hulu?

Amazon sealed an agreement that allows customers to view certain movies from Universal Pictures online, creating even more competition with Netflix and, possibly, Hulu.

Amazon sealed an agreement that allows Prime customers to view certain movies from Universal Pictures online, creating even more competition with Netflix and, possibly, Hulu.

Amazon Prime’s streaming-video service is a membership program that offers subscribers discounts on shipping for a $79 annual fee. In February 2011, Amazon said it would offer Prime customers unlimited access to an online video library.

Just this last week, Amazon secured an agreement with CBS that expanded its library to more than 8,000 movies and TV shows. Including the NBC deal, Amazon’s catalog offers more than 9,000 movies and television shows.

I am sure Netflix feels the competition from Amazon’s recent deals. As you know two weeks ago, Netflix raised the prices for some subscribers by as much as 60 percent, not making its members too happy. I am sure Amazon is working hard to win over some of those disgruntle Netflix members.

The deal Amazon made with NBC includes some of the same content Netflix offers its customers. Netflix renewed its contract with NBC at the beginning of the July. The company offers more than 20,000 movies and TV shows online while charging $7.99 a month, or $95.88 a year, for unlimited streaming video.

Hulu probably doesn’t feel Amazon’s completion as much as Netflix because it offers more exclusive content, involving recently aired TV shows not available on Netflix or Amazon. There are rumors that Hulu, owned by Walt Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal, is asking for takeover bids. The offer includes five years of access to shows. Hulu streams select movies and TV shows for free, and offers more content to users who pay $7.99 a month. Hulu has a cool feature that allows paying subscribers to stream Hulu content to phones, tablets and TVs.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon fares to the end of the year with its new offer to its Prime membership. Just today the company’s stock climbed $1.38 to $223.90 while Netflix’s stock fell $2.80 to $266.62.