Visitors to Amazon's website yesterday will have noticed that the front page was taken over by the latest digital media announcement. "Today, we're announcing an agreement with Disney-ABC that adds 800 popular titles from ABC Studios, The Disney Channel, ABC Family, and Marvel," said a notice posted to the site.
According to Amazon, the latest acquisition, coupled with a recent agreements they struck with Fox, CBS, NBC Universal and PBS, brings their total selection to around 13,000 titles available for free, unlimited instant streaming if you're a member of their $79-per-year Amazon Prime membership. The membership also provides free shipping for many physical items purchased for home delivery from Amazon's website. The service is in direct competition with industry-leading Netflix, who have been losing members and stock value for months.
Amazon's streaming service is one of the most widely-available on the Internet, boasting of over 300 devices supported. Their new device, the Kindle Fire, is the first of their self-released Kindle devices to support video.
Details are scarce as to what, exactly, Amazon has the rights to in terms of Marvel Studios films, but a similar agreement with Netflix allows them to stream numerous motion comics, the Iron Man films and a number of animated series. Amazon's release specifically name-drops the popular X-Men: Evolution animated series, but that's it. A cursory search of some popular Marvel titles seems to indicate that, at least so far, the Iron Man and X-Men franchises aren't available yet for free streaming, and neither is the recently-released Captain America: The First Avenger.
Before striking the deal with Disney, Amazon recently caused a bit of a stir in the comics community by courting DC for digital editions of 100 of their best-selling graphic novels and collected editions, which are available exclusively through the Kindle Fire, through March. Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million, the two largest brick-and-mortar book retailers in the United States, have retaliated by removing those titles (and apparently other editions of the same stories, such as deluxe hardcovers and Absolute Editions) from store shelves, effectively forcing customers to buy them either from the comics direct market or through the Internet. As yet, it's unclear whether those books will return to retail stores once the four-month exclusivity window is over.