Amazon Strikes Deal to Carry PBS Programming

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Good news, Neil deGrasse Tyson fans: Your favorite astrophysicist and company will soon be coming to Amazon. The company announced today that it has struck a deal with PBS Distribution to bring more than 1,000 episodes of PBS shows such as NOVA, Antique Roadshow and Frontline to its Amazon Prime service.

Yes, you’ll also get the chance to learn/be lulled to sleep by Ken Burns’ many documentaries, including his excellent new one on Prohibition. PBS fans will get to go retro with 200 episodes of Julia Child’s The French Chef.

(PHOTOS: Ken Burns, American Filmmaker)

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody who’s been watching the migration of programming from television to the Internet, including Hulu and Netflix’s battle to produce the long-awaited new season of Arrested Development and YouTube’s rumored move to commit $150 million to 25 channels of original content. Amazon’s recent move will put its Prime instant video offerings at 12,000, which, while no threat to Netflix, is formidable considering subscribers also get perks like no minimum for free shipping on Amazon purchases.

It also promises to entice more customers towards its recently released Kindle Fire, the $199 Android tablet that serves as Amazon’s conduit for pushing books, magazines, movies and TV shows a la Apple’s strategy with the iPad. Non-Prime subscribers can still watch shows online by paying per episode on Amazon’s Instant Video service.

While the PBS deal may lure the coveted totebag demographic, it’s hard to say how many people will cough up $79 a year for Amazon Prime. It’s certainly cheaper than Netflix’s stream-only plan, which rings in at $17 more per year, but the quality of its offerings is considerably less enticing (Amazon Prime’s most popular movie right now? Daniel Tosh: Completely Serious.) Never, however, underestimate the cosmic powers of Neil deGrasse Tyson.

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