PBS Distribution has expanded its deal with Amazon with a licensing agreement for exclusive subscription video on demand rights to 20 PBS Kids shows.
Member stations will still premiere new content, and retain a window of about six months before the shows become available on Amazon Prime Video. There, Amazon Prime members can access the content on TVs, mobile devices or computers. The deal also allows subscribers to download programs for later viewing offline.
Later this year, Amazon Prime members will be able to purchase a PBS Kids “Add-On Subscription” for an additional fee to view more episodes, PBS President Paula Kerger told general managers in an email Thursday.
The shows will still be available free through the PBS Kids app on other platforms, such as Roku and Apple TV.
The deal, announced Friday, involves 20 series to which PBS holds rights. The pact also provides revenue to producers, said Lesli Rotenberg, PBS s.v.p. and g.m., children’s media and education, in an interview.
“Producers benefit in a big way,” Rotenberg said. “This allows them to continue creating content. Because we don’t foot the bill for entire series, it’s important as part of overall public TV ecosystem that producers benefit as well.”
PBS’s share of the revenue will go to “an overall pool of support,” she said, for content such as new educational media and the upcoming 24/7 kids’ streaming service.
The multi-year deal — Rotenberg declined to say how many years — bolsters a 2010 Amazon agreement with additional content and exclusivity.
The exclusivity aspect is becoming more essential within the media industry, Rotenberg noted. So the deal “has more to do with the way the industry is headed” rather than a particular business goal for PBS, she said.
“We’ve been happy with our partnership with Amazon,” Rotenberg said. Amazon agreed to make the PBS Kids brand “prominent in searchability and marketing.”
Amazon also agreed to include pre-roll messages acknowledging member stations, Rotenberg noted, although they won’t mention specific stations.
As of Friday, new shows to Amazon Prime are Kratts Creatures (a precursor to Wild Kratts), Nature Cat and Postcards from Buster. Those titles will be joined by Ready Jet Go! Aug. 15.
Additional programs are already on Amazon Prime but will drop from other SVOD platforms. Series leaving Hulu and Netflix are Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Caillou, Arthur, WordWorld, Dinosaur Train and Wild Kratts.
Leaving Netflix are Odd Squad, Peg + Cat, Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman, Reading Rainbow, Cyberchase and Zoboomafoo.
Some PBS Kids titles are not part of the deal. Super Why! will continue on Netflix. Sesame Street has a separate agreement with HBO. Curious George is exclusive to Hulu. And Thomas and Friends remains available on Amazon, Netflix and Hulu.