Netflix (NFLX) released its latest original series, "Orange is the New Black," on Thursday to less fanfare than its previous exclusives. Meanwhile, Amazon.com (AMZN) added prestige movies from Miramax to its rival streaming video service.
The women's prison comedy-drama "Orange Is the New Black" is Netflix's fourth original series this year, coming after "House of Cards," "Hemlock Grove" and the fourth season of "Arrested Development." The new show has received mostly positive reviews, garnering a Metacritic score of 82 out of 100 and giving it a "universal acclaim" rating.
"Orange Is the New Black" stars Taylor Schilling and is based on a best-selling memoir by Piper Kerman.
The series was created and produced by Jenji Kohan, who also made "Weeds.
Even before the 13-episode first season premiered, Netflix renewed it for a second season.
Whether Netflix's slate of original shows will help it attract and retain subscribers is yet to be seen. The Los Gatos, Calif.-based company is set to report second-quarter results on July 22.
Amazon has emerged as Netflix's biggest direct competitor and has been signing a host of content deals this year. With its most recent deal, it added critically acclaimed Miramax movies such as "Pulp Fiction," "Good Will Hunting" and "The English Patient" to its lineup.
To ramp up its content offerings vs. Netflix, Amazon has signed distribution deals this year with A+E Networks, CBS (CBS), NBC Universal, PBS and Viacom (VIA). It even green-lighted its own slate of original series to air later this year and in 2014.
Not to be outdone, Netflix has been racking up content deals with DreamWorks Animation (DWA), Walt Disney (DIS), Hasbro (HAS), CBS and others.
Netflix's basic streaming service is $7.99 a month. Amazon's offering is free to Amazon Prime subscribers. Prime costs $79 a year and includes free 2-day shipping on Amazon wares.
Netflix shares rose 35 cents to 244.17 and Amazon climbed 2.5% in the stock market Thursday to 299.66, setting an all-time high for a fourth straight day.
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