By Lanford Beard
September 26, 2011 at 08:59 PM EDT

Score one for Netflix. After weeks of being dragged through the mud for its controversial fee hikes and service splitting, the folks behind the red envelopes have secured exclusive first-run rights for all DreamWorks Animation features. “DreamWorks Animation is one of the few family entertainment brands that really matters,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. “This agreement strengthens the lineup of great family content Netflix members will be able to watch instantly and also increases the number of hit first-run films we’ll have available in the pay TV window.”

Though the plan won’t kick in until the release of DreamWorks’ 2013 feature films, other titles from the DreamWorks catalog will become available over time. No financial terms have been released concerning the deal, which marks a shift in the industry — it’s the first time a studio has ever given first-run rights to a streaming web application over a television provider. So what does this mean for the rest of the companies who’ve recently joined in the Netflix onslaught?

This wouldn’t be a Netflix story without an offensive maneuver from at least another company. Amazon was quick to respond to Netflix’s coup by announcing a streaming partnership with Fox that pulls in 2,000 films and TV shows to the online giant’s Amazon Prime service. This means shows like The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 24, Arrested Development, and The Wonder Years (an Amazon exclusive) will join the Prime line-up. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos said these additions are just a continuation of the brand’s expansion: “Since launching earlier this year, we have now doubled the number of titles available in Prime instant videos, and there’s still more to come.” Other services are also nipping at Netflix’s heels, including Apple, Walmart-owned Vudu, and Dish Network, which recently announced a new partnership with Blockbuster.

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