MIT Technology Review is reporting that the National Archives has struck a deal with Amazon subsidiary Custom Flix DVD On Demand to make thousands of the NA's films and videotapes readily available for purchase on Amazon.
CustomFlix allows people and organizations like the National Archives to offer DVDs for sale on Amazon without inventory. DVDs are manufactured when customers purchase them, eliminating the risks and hassles associated with traditional distribution. Once a DVD is purchased on Amazon it is delivered to the customer within 24 hours.
What sort of content is the National Archives offering? The first project is Universal Newsreels dating from 1929 to 1967 that cover worldwide events in politics, entertainment, fashion, sports and technology. Historic moments in world history, such as the death of FDR, the end of WWII, the famous 1960 Nixon-Kennedy debate and the royal wedding of Princess Margaret, are all chronicled. Newsreel titles already available on Amazon range from "KENNEDY THROWS HAT IN RING" to "STEEL STRIKE SETTLED" to "designers preview their Spring collections" to "President Nasser launches construction of the Aswan High Dam project" and include scenes of the 1959 ''Kitchen Debate'' between then-Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in a model American kitchen on display in Moscow. ''The National Archives and Records Administration houses an amazing collection of motion picture titles that historically have been hard for the general public to access,'' said Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, managing director of CustomFlix Labs. ''Our DVD on Demand service will make these titles readily available for purchase.''
The National Archives stressed that the agreement is non-exclusive, unlike the controversial semi-exclusive deal the Smithsonian Institution recently struck with the cable television network Showtime.