Subscribers to Amazon Prime will soon have access to a lot more episodes of their favorite PBS programs, as part of a deal the two companies announced on Wednesday.
As is usually the case with these deals, the specifics are a bit vague. But the deal will add more previous seasons of shows such as Nova and Masterpiece Theatre, as well as some of the Ken Burns documentaries such as “The Civil War.” Some of these programs had previously been on Netflix, but had disappeared from that rival streaming service in recent weeks. Amazon is also now the exclusive home for season three of Downton Abbey, with the first two seasons moving exclusively to Amazon later in the year. There aren’t any public released figures on what the deal is worth to PBS, but AdWeek notes that when the two companies last signed a deal in 2011, it appeared to net PBS more than $40 million.
The deal also adds a bunch of PBS Kids shows to not only Amazon Prime but to a new Kindle app for children called “FreeTime Unlimited.” The app also includes educational games and the ability for parents to monitor and limit their kids use of the app.
What you won’t find on Amazon is much in the way of programming from the current or recent season of your various PBS programs. To see those episodes, your best bet is to use the PBS iPad app or dedicated PBS channels that have been set up for users of Roku, XBox and several other set top box companies. The app offers more short clips than full episodes, but the Roku PBS channel offers episodes of news programs such as Frontline, PBS NewsHour and American Experience, along with plenty of music programming and offerings from PBS digital studios. The Roku and XBox channels are interesting in particular because when you sign in, you tell the app where you live and it automatically includes local programming from your nearby public television station.
And let’s not forget the PBS national video web site, which tends to offer the best selection of recent programs.