For those keeping score at home, as of today both Netflix and Amazon have content deals with movie distributor Epix, meaning not much has changed for the state of movies on Netflix -- at least not yet. The Amazon deal comes just as an exclusivity deal expired between Netflix and the movie distributor. Though some have said that Netflix "loses out" with this deal, as far as you the viewer is concerned, all the stuff that was on Netflix before will still be available to stream right now. It will just appear on Amazon, too. Epix, a company owned by Paramount, MGM Studios, and Lions Gate Entertainment, has now made movies like Iron Man 2, Tron, Kickass available for both Amazon Prime ($79/year) and Netflix ($7.99/month) subscribers. The end of the exclusivity deal just means Epix can peddle its offerings to other streamers, like Amazon Prime.
Amazon has claimed that the new deal brings "popular new release movies including The Avengers, Iron Man 2, The Hunger Games, Super 8, Thor, True Grit and more for Prime members to instantly stream at no addition cost," as per the release, which might lead Netflix-ers to believe that Amazon has an advantage, as The Hunger Games is not yet available on Netflix. But, that is a bit misleading, as neither Amazon nor Netflix have that particular movie yet. Epix rules state that Netflix will get Katniss's kickass glory 90 days after it shows up on Epix, which will happen at the beginning of 2013. Right now Amazon customers can rent the movie, but it's not part of the free streaming package for Amazon Prime members.
However, Netflix subscribers shouldn't be surprised if one day these movies do all disappear. During last quarter's earnings call Netflix hinted that it might not renew its Epix deal, which expires in 2015. (Epix told us it doesn't see it like that, however.) If and when that happens, eons from now, then Amazon Prime will have that advantage over Netflix -- if you're into the types of action and adventure Blockbuster hits this service seems to provide. Oh, and all of this is assuming the streaming Internet television situation looks anything like it does today, three years from now. While Amazon and Netflix are stressing about the future, for anyone sitting on their couch tonight looking for a good movie to watch, it's all very murky.