Amazon snags streaming rights to action series '24'

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Amazon snags streaming rights to action series '24'
Amazon announced Tuesday it had secured the online streaming rights for the US action hit "24" starring Kiefer Sutherland.

The online giant said it struck a deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution to be "the exclusive online-only subscription home for streaming all 192 episodes of the award-winning series."

The news comes with Amazon ramping up its battle against video giants like Netflix and Hulu. Amazon is set to announce an update to its video offerings on Wednesday.

The program with Sutherland as agent Jack Bauer won a Golden Globe and an Emmy. It ran eight seasons, with each episode depicting a 24-hour period in which Bauer races against the clock to thwart political assassination attempts and multiple terror plots.

Amazon this week also announced it was adding six original programs to its video service, including its own science fiction TV series and detective program based on writings of best-selling crime author Michael Connelly.

The move comes with Amazon ramping up efforts to boost its online streaming service which competes with Netflix, Hulu and other services.

Amazon joined the rush to online television last year with the political comedy "Alpha House" and Silicon Valley sitcom "Betas."

In February, Amazon rolled out 10 new pilot shows in the United States and Britain and invited customers to judge which ones should go into production.

"We had a tremendous response to Amazon Studios' latest pilots in fact, double the number of customers watched these pilots compared to our first season and they posted thousands of heartfelt reviews with pleas for us to continue these shows," said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios.

"Now the fun really begins Amazon will be working with some of the most talented casts and creators in the business to bring six new shows exclusively to tens of millions of Prime members worldwide. These series, along with our summer kids programming, will give customers a lot of viewing choices."

The online streaming service is available to members of Amazon Prime, a subscription service which also offers benefits for retail shopping.

(Also see: Amazon Prime membership hiked to $99 per year; first change since 2005 introduction)

The new programs selected include the science fiction series "The After," from "X-Files" creator Chris Carter, and the detective series "Bosch," based on novels from Michael Connelly.

Comedies include "Mozart in the Jungle" from Oscar nominee Roman Coppola, and director Jill Soloway's "Transparent," about a California family "with serious boundary issues."

For children, Amazon will release "Gortimer Gibbon's Life on Normal Street," a live action series for ages 6-11 and "Wishenpoof!" for preschoolers.

Amazon has scheduled a news event Wednesday in New York described as "an update to our video service," without elaborating.

Some analysts expect the company to release a new device similar to Google's Chromecast to make it easier to stream from a mobile device to large-screen television.

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