Kids TV comes on Amazon

Amazon.com Inc. has reached an expanded multi-year agreement with Viacom that will bring hundreds of the media company's television shows to Amazon's Prime Instant Video service.

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The offerings include some of the best-known shows in children's programming, such as Nickelodeon's "SpongeBob SquarePants," "Dora the Explorer" and "Blue's Clues."

The deal is believed to be the biggest yet for Amazon's video streaming service, in terms of breadth of content and cost.

Amazon is among a number of digital suitors pursuing Hollywood's content - helping to drive up the price. The Seattle-based retail giant's arrangement with Viacom sets up a multi-screen battle for young viewers, who increasingly watch movies and TV shows via their game consoles, smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected devices.

Netflix has been courting families, especially younger viewers who gravitate to streaming video services. It created a "Just for Kids" interface that relies heavily on images, to remove any barriers to finding shows. In February, it partnered with DreamWorks Animation to create an original animated series for the service based on the summer film "Turbo."

In April, Netflix told investors it would allow its deal with Viacom to expire, saying it has been moving away from broad, multi-year deals with networks and cable channels in favor of more selective licensing arrangements.

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