Shares of online retail giant Amazon.com (AMZN) just passed its all-time high earlier today, hitting $246.87 at one point in earlier trading, after the company announced a content partnership with NBC Universal, which is owned by Comcast (CMCSA). The deal allows Amazon to stream some of NBC's most popular shows on its Amazon Prime subscription feature. In July, Amazon struck a deal with Warner Bros. (TWX), adding more content to its growing library.
The aggressive expansion of the online video business makes Amazon a direct competitor with Netflix (NFLX), which has had its hands full for quite some time now dealing with multiple entrants to its industry on top of the rising costs of online content. Shares of Netflix declined a little over 1 percent after the news was reported.
While Netflix still sports the deeper library, Amazon's Prime feature comes with much more than just online streaming. Customers receive free two-day shipping on purchases made on the retail site and access to a free book rental once a month for the Kindle. The Prime subscription costs $80 a year versus Netflix's $96 per year.
As Amazon continues to expand its content library, the justification for customers to defect from Netflix becomes more appealing. Netflix, for its part, has been aggressively growing internationally and investing in more content--even in its original shows--to attract subscribers. Whether or not that strategy pays off remains to be seen, however.
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