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Time Warner has successfully capitalized on the tablet mania with its HBO Go application, which allows subscribers to the cable channel to watch shows on their portable device, Niemeyer said. Walt Disney Co. struck a deal with Comcast Corp. in June that makes live streams of Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior shows available to subscribers through an iPad application.
Netflix similarly is thriving on the tablets. Although most of the 24 million subscribers to its U.S. streaming service still prefer to watch movies and TV shows on their TVs via Internet-connected game consoles, viewing on tablets is growing rapidly, a spokesman said.
Several film studio executives privately expressed the hope that tablets will one day lead consumers to build digital movie libraries, in the same way that portable devices have caused people to amass virtual bookshelves of music and books.
One television executive, speaking on background because of the sensitivity of the issue, said he doesn’t view tablets as cannibalizing television audiences. Indeed, shows discovered through online streaming services can build audiences for shows. The biggest worry for networks is the inability to measure viewership on mobile devices, making it impossible to quantify these audiences for advertisers, whose commercials underwrite much of the cost of creating expensive television content.
Amazon recognizes the power of its portable, go-anywhere media tablets to augment the popularity of itsAmazon Prime service, which enables subscribers who pay a $79 annual fee to stream thousands of movies and television shows. This week, Amazon struck a multiyear deal with Epix to add titles from Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM to its Instant Video service.
Amazon’s seven new devices are a cheaper Kindle e-reader for $69; two versions of its new front-lighted Paperwhite e-reader; an upgraded Kindle Fire tablet for $159; and three HD Kindle Fires: a 7-inch Wi-Fi version, an 8.9-inch Wi-Fi version and an 8.9-inch 4G model. Prices for these HD models range from $199 to $599.
Paperwhite, which comes in $119 and $179 versions, features a higher resolution, up to eight weeks of battery life and a slimmer design. The Kindle Fire HD family includes 25 percent less glare, dual antenna for faster Wi-Fi and a front-facing HD camera.
The devices have staggered release dates through Nov. 20 in anticipation of the holiday season.