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Amazon yoinks Dora and SpongeBob from Netflix for MEELLLIONS

Are you ready, kids? 'Cos we paid a lot for this

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Amazon has signed a deal to stream Viacom's kiddies' TV shows for a rumoured whopping $200m.

The giant web bazaar said yesterday that it will get its hands on popular children's telly shows, including Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants, in the deal for its Prime subscribers in the US. Amazon-owned LoveFilm users in the UK and Germany will also get a portion of the 4,000 episodes.

Video streaming rights are a new battleground for services such as Netflix and Amazon's LoveFilm and Prime as they compete with each other and with traditional cable television firms.

A person familiar with the deal told Reuters that Amazon forked out more than $200m to Viacom for the multi-year licence, which a second source whispered would last over two years and include more content than what was available in a previous agreement between Viacom and Netflix.

Netflix stopped streaming Viacom-owned Nickelodeon shows just a few days ago, when its contract with the entertainment giant ran out.

Netflix chief exec Reed Hastings admitted in a CNBC interview last week that losing the Viacom content could hurt his service, although he said that the firm still had content from Disney and the Cartoon Network for children. ®

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