Amazon announced today it has struck a deal with PBS to make its online video streaming service, Prime Instant Video, the exclusive subscription streaming outlet for Downton Abbey.
Beginning June 18, Prime Instant Video will be the only subscription streaming service where viewers will be able to watch Season 3 of the smash Masterpiece Classic program. The first and second seasons of the show are currently available on Amazon as well as on rival subscription streaming services like Netflix and Hulu Plus, but will migrate exclusively to Prime on an unspecified date "later this year," according to a press release from Amazon. Prime will also be the only paid streaming service to offer Season 4 and, if produced, Season 5 of the series.
Downton Abbey is already the most popular TV series among Amazon Prime customers, according to Brad Beale, Amazon director of digital video content acquisition.
The exclusivity rights only apply to paid video subscription services. The most recent episodes of Downton Abbey will continue to be available for free streaming on PBS.org, as they currently are, and the show will still be available to download on iTunes and other platforms, PBS spokesperson Jan McNamara told Current. McNamara declined to say how much money PBS stands to make from the Amazon deal.
On Jan. 16, Apple announced that viewers who purchase a "Season Pass" to the show on iTunes would have early access to every episode from Season 3, including those still to be aired.