Amazon's streaming war with Netflix is about to claim a new victim: Doctor Who. The Verge has learned that the program, along with the majority of BBC programming, will be vanishing from Prime Instant Video starting February 15th. According to sources familiar with the matter, the issue is exclusivity. Amazon's licensing deal with the BBC allows other subscription services like Netflix to carry the same shows at the same time. That doesn't align with Amazon's current strategic goals, so we've learned the company is choosing not to renew the agreement.
It's a bit of hardball that could frustrate Amazon's customers in the short term, but demonstrates just how serious the company is about Prime. Amazon has been on a tear over the past two years, closing deals that put shows like Hannibal, 24, The Americans, and Justified on its service while also keeping them out of the hands of competitors. And it appears to be working: according to CEO Jeff Bezos, membership in the service grew over 53 percent last year, with Amazon investing $1.3 billion in Prime Instant Video alone.
Amazon's 2015 focus will be on original shows and exclusive deals
One of the easiest ways to help the video service stand out is to fill it with shows and movies that simply aren't available elsewhere, and accordingly sources say the company's content focus in 2015 will be on original programming and exclusive content deals. Amazon already seems to be hitting stride on the first point, taking home its first Golden Globe this month for the critically acclaimed Transparent.
Amazon will begin notifying customers about the changes this weekend, and while many popular shows will be leaving the service, fans of the BBC sci-fi favorite Orphan Black needn't worry: Amazon closed an exclusive deal to carry that show on Prime Instant Video last year.