Amazon adds Fox to streaming video lineup as tablet launch nears

Amazon.com announced a new licensing agreement with Fox that will enable the digital retailer's Amazon Prime subscribers to instantly stream a broad selection of Fox-owned films and television programs for free. In addition to classic features like All About Eve, Office Space and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the deal also includes access to primetime series like The X-Files, NYPD Blue, Arrested Development and The Wonder Years.

Arrested Development

Amazon Prime adds Fox-owned films and television like The X-Files and Arrested Development (pictured).

Amazon launched Prime Instant Video in February, and its catalog now offers more than 11,000 titles licensed from partners including NBCUniversal, Sony and Warner Bros. Priced at $79 per year, the Amazon Prime service most notably offers unlimited two-day shipping on all products sold and processed by the e-commerce giant, excluding items offered by third-party sellers.

Although Prime Instant Video is not currently accessible to mobile phone users, insiders say the Fox deal is a prelude to the much-rumored launch of a branded Amazon tablet device that will include streaming media access. Amazon is hosting a press conference Sept. 28, and the smart money says the company will formally introduce the Android-powered tablet at that time. Unlike rival Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which relies on content from its iTunes digital media storefront and App Store to boost sales of hardware like the iPhone and iPad, Amazon is looking to the tablet to boost consumer interest in premium digital media.

Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Amazon is in talks with publishers to introduce an e-book service similar in scope to Netflix, expanding Amazon Prime to encompass access to digital titles across a series of devices. The proposed service would offer a library of older e-book titles, similar to the catalog films and television programming available free to Amazon Prime users.

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