Amazon.com said Thursday that its Amazon Prime Instant Video has reached a exclusive deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution to stream the entire run of detective series Veronica Mars, giving customers a chance to catch up with the cult hit more than a month before a new theatrical release is slated to hit screens.
Amazon Prime, which offers customers free two-day shipping on online purchases and access to more than 41,000 television episodes and movies for $79 per year, will be the exclusive online distributor of the series’ three seasons. The series, which debuted in 2004, tracks the exploits of high school and later college student (actress Kristen Bell) who moonlights as a private investigator under the tutelage of her detective father.
“The Veronica Mars series has been popular on DVD and Amazon Instant Video for years, so we know how much Amazon customers love this iconic television show,” said Amazon Director of Digital Video Content Acquisition Brad Beale in a statement. “We are excited to become the exclusive subscription streaming home for Veronica Mars and to be able to offer the entire TV series to Prime members to enjoy at no additional charge. With the movie coming on March 14, both die-hard fans and new viewers can easily catch-up on this great show.”
Although it was canceled in 2007, the show maintained a cult following and was the subject of one of the most successful Kickstarter online fundraising campaigns ever when screenwriter Rob Thomas and Bell raised $2 million for a movie project in 10 hours last year. At the end of the 31-day campaign, fans contributed $5.7 million, making it the number one funded project in the film category and the third-highest funded project in Kickstarter history. Amazon also had a hand in the fundraising success – its Amazon Payments handles all the payment processing for funds raised on all Kickstarter projects in the United States. The Veronica Mars movie is scheduled to debut in select theaters on March 14.
“We are thrilled to have Prime Instant Video as a digital distribution outlet for the Veronica Mars TV series,” said President, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution Ken Werner in a statement. “Digital distribution platforms such as Amazon's and licensing deals such as this allow the consumer great opportunities whether they're die-hard fans who just can't get enough or a new consumer turned fan who has discovered a fabulous show with dozens of new episodes."
Amazon Prime has been an aggressive buyer and creator of content – it has struck exclusive streaming deals for PBS hits Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, CBS summer mini-series Under the Dome and the Steven Spielberg-produced series Extant coming in June. Last year the services reached a deal with Viacom’s Nickelodeon for kids’ content such as Bubble Guppies and The Backyardigans. The service has also delved into original content with Alpha House and Betas. Amazon Prime had about 20 million subscribers at the end of the year.