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Founded on 2 February 2004, Amazon Prime was initially spun off from online retailer Amazon.com as a service that allowed its customers to pay a annual fee for unlimited two-day shipping. As part of the service, Amazon offers a free eBook from its lending library each month and free video streaming of select older titles.

For the original Amazon Prime subscribers, all Star Trek: The Original Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise episodes are currently available to stream for free. Original Series and Next Generation episodes are available in remastered high definition format. Amazon.co.uk subscribers can watch both the original and remastered editions of The Original Series and the entirety of Voyager.

Becoming a full blown streaming service

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In an increasingly digital society the video streaming service quickly gained in importance to such a degree that it itself was spun off from Amazon Prime on 7 September 2007 as Amazon Prime Video, also referred to as Prime Video and Amazon Prime – somewhat unfortunately and confusingly in the latter case as the original distribution subscription service is still very much active under that moniker. Prime Video exclusively concentrated on the digital dissemination of video formats in all three incarnations as the rental "Video-on-Demand" (VoD, the company was actually called Amazon Video on Demand at one point in time, the format initially also known as "pay-per-view" – PPV), the retail digital download format (also through the .com main retail site), and the all access streaming service on a subscription basis.

Ever since Amazon launched its own television production company in 2010, Amazon Studios, with the science fiction series The Man in the High Castle (2015-2019, and featuring Tamlyn Tomita and Rick Worthy) having been one of its more notable original productions by 2019, it has – regardless of whether or not Prime has secured streaming rights – featured motion picture and television productions on its .com main site before the release of any of the corresponding home media formats, thus essentially expanding it with IMDb-like characteristics. IMDb itself incidentally, was already in 1998 acquired by Amazon. [1] Another major science fiction series Prime had streaming rights for was SyFy's critically acclaimed The Expanse (2015-, served by former Star Trek writer Naren Shankar as showrunner, and Ryan Dening as concept designer/illustrator), which was cancelled by SyFy though after three seasons. On 26 May 2018 however, after a fan campaign to save the series – very similar to the one that saved The Original Series for its third season back in 1967/68 – Amazon conglomerate owner and CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his company had picked up the production and exclusive streaming rights for the series, now as an "Amazon exclusive". [2] Two seasons have followed suit as such, starting in December 2019. In 2018, streaming rights were also acquired for Babylon 5. As part of this deal, it received a "pseudo-remastering", in order to at least approximate HD standards.

During its pre-production in 2016, Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video all vied for the rights to stream the Star Trek: Discovery series outside the home market, where the series was to be streamed by CBS All Access. The latter two companies' bids were not successful. [3] Nonetheless, the series became featured on the main Amazon.com website, open for customer review and commentary, thereby becoming the first Star Trek series to be featured on the site, long before any of the home media formats were released – the sale of which having been the traditional purview of the site. [4]

Prime customers can subscribe to Paramount+, among others, through Amazon.com via the pages where the pre-home media release productions are featured.

On 13 May 2019, the news broke that Prime Video had acquired the international streaming rights for Star Trek: Picard, which had started production the month previously, with each episode to be streamed 24 hours after its American premiere on CBS All Access. [5] [6] Lead actor Patrick Stewart confirmed the news the same day on his Twitter account. [7] The series' first teaser trailer carrying the Amazon Prime Video watermark, was released on 23 May 2019, [8] whereas the series proper premiered on 24 January 2020 at the service.

On 17 December 2020, The Hollywood Reporter disclosed that the streaming rights for the entire ten-episode first season of Star Trek: Lower Decks would be available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video starting 22 January 2021.

The market position of Amazon Prime Video in the increasingly vicious, what industry analysts have coined, "Streaming Wars", was strenghtened dramatically when holding conglomerate Amazon.com acquired Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (the first Hollywood studio to turn down Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek is... pitch back in 1963) and its properties in late May 2021. [9] [10] It is expected that all MGM productions, which include those from the Stargate and the very successful James Bond franchises, will be pulled from competing streaming services, most conspicuously Netflix and The Disney Company-owned Hulu, and added to Prime Video's own catalog. MGM's catalog consisted by the time Amazon took ownership of 4,000 film titles and 17,000 hours worth of television productions. The acquisition propelled Prime Video into the position of the world’s second-largest streaming service with 175 million global users, second only after Netflix. [11]

Prime Video releases

Series

Films

Other

External links

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