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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 09/04/2012

Amazon’s deal with EPIX adds heat to tablet wars

The Kindle Fire at a news conference in New York. (Mark Lennihan - AP)
Tablet wars are heating up, and with Amazon’s deal with Hollywood studio consortium EPIX for thousands more movie titles, so is the battle over who provides the best streaming video content.

Amazon on Tuesday announced a deal with Paramount, MGM and Lionsgate’s online streaming partnership called EPIX to bring new releases like “The Avengers” and “Iron Man 2,” classic movies and original programs to the Kindle tablet maker’s Prime Instant Video service.

The agreement is a multi-year licensing deal, according to Amazon and comes after the expiration of Netflix’s exclusive deal with EPIX.

Amazon said the deal with EPIX more than doubles the number of titles it has since the launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service competes with Netflix, iTunes and Google Play.

The titans of technology are all vying to sell their own ecosystems of devices, entertainment and apps to consumers.

One deal at a time, high-tech firms are licensing rights to stream videos through their own marketplaces. Consumers meanwhile have slowly migrated from cable television to online-only, but have remained loyal to pay television services like cable and satellite mainly because of the live sports programming and the reluctance of Time Warner’s HBO to offer its popular shows and movies to online services such as Netflix.

“We are excited to be working with Amazon and to bring our compelling content to Amazon Pirme and Kindle Fire customers,” said Mark Greenberg, president and CEO of EPIX.

Apple’s iPad leads tablet sales with 70 percent of the U.S. market in the second quarter of the year. Samsung is second with about 10 percent of the market, according to IHS iSuppli. Amazon is third with 4 percent of the market in that period.

But the battle is still in its early stages, analysts say. Amazon said last week it sold out its Kindle Fire, and industry observers expect the firm to unveil new upgrades of the tablet at an event Thursday. And Google has entered the tablet wars with its Nexus 7, which it began to advertise on its main search page last week.


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By  |  11:00 AM ET, 09/04/2012

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