Amazon to Stream Shows From CBS’ Library

Site will present older, off-air titles

In an attempt to build its digital video service, Amazon has signed a deal with CBS that will add a number of CBS television shows to the site.

According to AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka, the deal is more or less a replica of the agreement between CBS and Netflix reached last February, which gave the streaming site access to recent shows that are no longer on the air, like Medium, and older titles that the network owns but aired elsewhere, such as Cheers and Frasier, but didn’t include any in-season programs.

Amazon says that the new shows will bring its streaming content up to 8,000 titles (Netflix has about 20,000 for its digital-only online library). For now, the programs will be free only for Amazon Prime customers, but Kafka suggests that Amazon is cultivating a more robust library for its forthcoming tablet, which is expected to be released this fall.

The financial terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed by CBS or Amazon, but Barclay’s analyst Anthony DiClemente told AllThingsD that he estimated the CBS/Netflix deal at $200 million over two years. “It’s reasonable to assume that Amazon is paying the same rate for its shows, but spending less overall,” says Kafka. “That’s because total value of the deal is likely based on Amazon’s subscriber base, which is much lower than Netflix’s.”