Amazon/Epix Multi-Year Deal Saps Netflix Stock; New Tablet on the Way

Contract includes 'The Avengers,' 'The Hunger Games'

E-tailer Amazon has inked a new multi-year pact with Viacom's fledgling pay-cable network Epix to distribute the cabler's library on Amazon's Prime Instant Video service.

The deal is a big one for Amazon. Epix's partner studios include MGM, Paramount and Lionsgate, and the movies included are recent summer blockbusters such as Marvel Comics' The Avengers, Thor and Iron Man 2, The Hunger Games, True Grit and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.

It's a good deal for Amazon and a bad sign for Netflix, which lost many of its content deals last year as its initial round of contracts expired. The service has plenty of vintage TV shows but far fewer movies than Amazon, and now the gap is widening considerably further. Netflix's stock took an 11 percent dip on news of the Amazon deal.

"We are investing hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the Prime Instant Video library for our customers," said Amazon's vp of video and music, Bill Carr. "We have now more than doubled this selection of movies and TV episodes to over 25,000 titles in just under a year."

The service streams through computers, of course, as well as most gaming consoles, It's also been a major selling point for Amazon's Kindle Fire, a tablet sold to the public at below cost, with built-in software that allows users to purchase and stream content from Amazon, thus (in theory) making up the shortfall and then some.

In fact, there may be an even more impressive tablet computer from Amazon out soon; the company has scheduled a press conference for this Thursday and has filed a patent for a double-sided version of what looks like the Kindle (hat tip to Engadget for catching that).