LOS ANGELES — Amazon.com has reached an expanded multiyear agreement with Viacom that will bring hundreds of the media company’s TV shows to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service.
The offerings include some of the best-known shows in children’s programming, such as Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Dora the Explorer” and “Blue’s Clues.”
The deal is believed to be the biggest yet for Amazon’s video-streaming service, in terms of breadth of content and cost. The value of the licensing agreement was not disclosed, though it is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to a person familiar with the matter who requested anonymity because details are confidential.
Amazon is among a number of digital suitors pursuing Hollywood’s content, helping to drive up the price. The Seattle-based retail giant’s arrangement with Viacom sets up a multiscreen battle for young viewers, who increasingly watch movies and TV shows via their game consoles, smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices.
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Netflix has been courting families, especially younger viewers who gravitate to streaming video, It created a “Just for Kids” interface that relies heavily on images, to remove any barriers to finding shows. In February, it partnered with DreamWorks Animation to create an original animated series for the service based on the summer film “Turbo.”
In April, Netflix told investors it would allow its deal with Viacom to expire, saying it has been moving away from broad, multiyear deals with networks and cable channels in favor of more selective licensing arrangements.
Netflix has since reached an agreement with the Disney/ABC Television Group to become the only subscription streaming service to offer popular children’s shows “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” and the animated “Tron: Uprising.”
Amazon doubled-down on its investment with Viacom, securing the largest selection of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. programs among online subscription services.
“Kids are one of the most-watched TV genres on Prime Instant Video,” Bill Carr, Amazon’s vice president of digital video and music, said in a statement.
Subscribers also will gain access to such MTV and Comedy Central shows as “Teen Mom 2,” “Key & Peele” and some episodes of “Jersey Shore.”
Amazon Prime members pay $79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping of items, and for unlimited streaming access to more than 41,000 movies and TV episodes.